October is a deadly month in Michigan for drivers, police trying to change that

Posted at 6:29 AM, Oct 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-18 12:51:27-04

Tailgating, Halloween parties and plenty of cider mills — the opportunities to drink during the fall season are plentiful, and in Michigan, that’s led to a historically high amount of drunk driving crashes in October.

In fact, October ranks as the third deadliest month for drinking and driving in Michigan. Impaired driving deaths — deaths linked to drugs — are also high this time of year, according to data released by Michigan State Police. As a result, federal grants are being used this month to put more troopers and local deputies on the road.

“We want people to enjoy fall activities such as tailgating and Halloween parties in a safe, responsible manner,” said Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning Director Michael L. Prince. “Motorists are advised to drive sober as officers will be conducting strict, stepped up enforcement to reduce traffic crashes, fatalities, and injuries.”

Starting Thursday, October 18, extra police will be activated across 10 police departments, sheriff’s offices and the Michigan State Police. The targeted campaign is part of the OHSP’s plan to lower traffic deaths.

In Michigan, impaired driving represented 45.7 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2017. Overall, 359 people died in 2017 because of alcohol-involved traffic crashes, an increase from 274 in 2016.

The month of October saw the third highest number of alcohol-involved fatal crashes in Michigan between 2011 and 2016. Only August and July have historically higher numbers. October is also the fourth deadliest month for drug-related crashes.