GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) - A statewide drunken driving crackdown that coincided with the NCAA's March Madness playoffs got 451 intoxicated motorists off the road.
More than 18% of those arrested were charged under Michigan's Super Drunk law, which increases penalties for having a blood alcohol content of more than .17%.
"Motorists were asked to catch a sober ride to get home safely. Those people who failed to heed that request are finding out how much a DUI can cost,'' said Michael L. Prince, director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning.
The crackdown netted more than booze-addled drivers. A Muskegon man was arrested with heroin, cocaine, marijuana and $902 in suspected drug money while a motorist in Coldwater was travelling with marijuana and an open bottle of liquor.
Police also found drivers who did not have insurance or a valid license.
Of the more than 13,700 traffic stops, motorists were either ticketed or arrested 58% of the time. Police agencies in Kent County made nearly 1,600 traffic stops.
Police say the anti-drinking and driving message is getting across. Arrests this year were down more than 10% compared with last year.
A total of 144 police agencies participated in the campaign, which began the weekend before St. Patrick's Day and ran through April 7.
A five-year review of crash data indicates both alcohol use and a lack of seat belts plays a significant role in fatal and serious injury crashes in March and early April.
Police agencies which received funding for the 2013 March Madness enforcement campaign accounted for 22 percent of drunken driving arrests statewide.
In addition to getting six points on your driver's license, people convicted of drunken driving face stiff financial penalties. Fines and court costs often exceed $2,700 – and that does not include the cost of an attorney or a hike in car insurance rates.
First-time offenders also face up to 93 days in jail and cannot drive for 30 days. After 30 days, a restricted license is issued for five months. Courts can also order you to perform up to 180 hours of community service.
Citations issued during police crackdown include:
715 No insurance
626 Suspended license
365 Running a red light
199 Seat belt and child seat violations