Investigations Launched After Michigan Cop Is Not Penalized For Drunk Driving

An off-duty Michigan police officer was caught drunk driving, and now he and the officer who stopped him are both facing repercussions. 

According to the Detroit Free Press, early on November 9, 2017, at approximately 12:30 AM, an off-duty Roseville police officer was stopped for attempting to travel south in northbound traffic on Woodward Ave. The Roseville officer was pulled over by a Ferndale officer, and while the Roseville officer allegedly appeared to be drunk, he was not given a breathalyzer, nor was he ticketed or arrested. Instead, the Ferndale officer called his supervisor, and was told to drive the Roseville officer, as well as his passenger, back to the station in Ferndale. Once at the Ferndale station, a Ferndale lieutenant drove the Roseville officer and his passenger home.

Many view this as a case of special treatment-since the drunk driver was a cop, and was not breathalyzed, ticketed, or arrested. Instead, his transgressions were ignored and he was given a ride home. As a result, WXYZ Detroit reported that both Roseville and Ferndale police departments launched internal investigations into the incident on November 17, 2017. More so, the Ferndale Police Department submitted the incident to the city attorney for possible criminal charges. The Roseville officer, should he be charged, would be facing an Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) charge. The Roseville officer is currently suspended without pay, and the names of the officers involved are being withheld as the investigation is ongoing.

The Ferndale police department says that some discretion is always involved whenever a driver is pulled over, and that not all drunk drivers are ticketed or arrested. Ferndale Police Chief Collins said in a statement that, “our jobs are complex and we trust our people to use sound judgment. When somebody makes a call that is unsafe or not indicative of the department’s values and operations, we take that seriously and we act accordingly.”

The Roseville police department will be undergoing a drunk driving education program. Roseville Police Chief Berlin said in a statement, “in this day in age for anyone to drive drunk surprises me; there is a whole list of options to get home like Uber and Lyft. As a police officer you know the consequences. The lack of judgment surprised me."

Detroit Drunk Driving Car Accident Lawyer

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2,912 people were killed by a drunk driver between 2003 and 2012 in the state of Michigan. Michigan legislature states that it is illegal to drive while intoxicated, or impaired, by alcohol, illegal drugs, and some prescribed medication, and with a bodily alcohol content of 0.08 or more.

Roseville Police Chief Berlin is right-there are plenty of alternatives to drunk driving. By using a ridesharing app like Uber or Lyft, prearranging a designated driver, using public transportation, or calling a taxi, or having any way of getting home that doesn’t involve a drunk person getting behind the wheel, is the best way to avoid getting into a drunk driving car accident. Drunk driving is never OK, and no one should be able to avoid the consequences of committing such an avoidable crime. Drunk driving is a danger to every car and person on the road.

Drunk driving can not only lead to extremely dangerous car accidents, but is also illegal. If you or a loved one have been involved in a drunk driving car crash, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal cosultation.

It's National Traffic Incident Response Week!

Most of us know to some extent that we need to slow down when an emergency vehicle is approaching, but do you know exactly what the law says? The Federal Highway Administration has declared the week of November 13-19, 2017, to be National Traffic Incident Response Week. The goal of the week is to raise awareness regarding the proper response when sharing the road with first responders. This week aims to remind drivers that they need to slow down and pull over, as well as help drivers be more aware of what laws their state specifically has in regard to emergency vehicles on the road. 

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According to Occupational Health and Safety (OHS), traffic incidents are the number one cause of death for EMT/EMS responders, and one of the leading causes of death for police officers. Nearly 13% of police officers and firefighters who die in the line of duty are killed in traffic incidents. OHS also notes that traffic incident managers often report that drivers simply are just unaware of the laws, in their state, regarding what to do if they are involved in an automobile accident. OHS suggests the following steps drivers can take in order to make the roads safer for first responders.

How Drivers Can Minimize First Responder Dangers

  • If you can steer it, clear it: After a fender-bender or crash, if (and only if) your car is driveable and there are no injuries, move your car to the shoulder or a nearby safe place off the road. Many drivers think they should not move their car until the police arrive and they can make an accident report, but this is false and can put drivers, their cars, and other people at risk.

  • Slow down and move over: When you pass by an incident scene and/or see lights, vests, or reflectors, slow down and move over. This provides a protective buffer for you, for emergency responders, and for the motorists behind you. You can get a ticket if you don't slow down and move over.

  • Drive safely: As always, drive sober and without distractions such as cell phones. Use your seat belt and stay aware of your surroundings.

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In the state of Michigan, there is a law on the books specifically regarding emergency vehicles. The Emergency Vehicle Caution Law, also known as the Move Over Law, applies to police, fire, rescue, ambulance, and road service vehicles.

Michigan Move Over Law

On Roads With Two or More Lanes of Travel in the Same Direction

  • When approaching a stationary emergency vehicle with its emergency lights activated carefully move over into an open lane.

  • If this is not possible due to traffic, weather, or road conditions, slow down and pass with caution, allowing the emergency vehicle as much space as possible.

On Roads With One Lane of Travel in Each Direction

  • When approaching a stationary emergency vehicle with its emergency lights activated carefully move over into an open adjacent lane.

  • If this is not possible due to traffic, weather, or road conditions, slow down and pass with caution, allowing the emergency vehicle as much space as possible.

Drivers who violate the law face misdemeanor penalties. This can result in 4 points going on the driver’s license and/or fees and fines of up to $150. If violation of the law results in injury or death of a police officer, firefighter, or other emergency response person, the driver could face 15 years in prison and/or a fine of $7500.

First responders are there to keep us safe, especially if we find ourselves involved in a motor vehicle accident. As drivers, we need to repay the favor by making sure that first responders are safe when they’re on our roads. Being aware of your state’s laws so you know exactly what you need to do is best for keeping first responders safe, as well as keeping you out of legal trouble. By keeping first responders safe, we're helping them keep us safe.

While first responders are there to keep us safe in the event of a car collisions, they can't prevent them from happening. If you have been involved in an automobile accident call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation  with an experienced accident attorney today. 

Michigan State Police Enforcing Distracted Driving Laws

Drivers might want to think twice the next time they want to send a text or take a Snapchat while driving around the Sterling Heights, Michigan intersection of Hall Road and Schoenherr Road. Police have promised to crack down on distracted driving around that intersection, as it has been ranked by the Michigan State Police as the 8th most dangerous intersection in Michigan. 

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The tight enforcement of distracted driving will be a team effort, as the intersection falls on the city borders of Utica, Sterling Heights, and Shelby Township. The video news story posted on ClickOnDetroit this morning featured an officer pulling over a driver who was traveling 60 mph, which is well over the posted speed limit of 45 mph. Going 15 miles per hour over the speed limit is legal grounds for a reckless driving ticket. Within a time frame of less than an hour, officers at the intersection pulled over several other drivers for careless driving, reckless driving, and distracted driving. 

“This is a matter of life and death. We have people on the streets dying in the United States of America because somebody felt it was so important to respond to a text or an email while driving,” Sterling Heights Police Department Chief John Berg said. The tri-city effort to curb distracted driving in the area is being called “Operation Blue Light”. 

As previously stated, this intersection is ranked the 8th most dangerous intersection in the state of Michigan. Leading causes to this ranking are the speed that drivers travel at on Hall Road, as well as the high volume of traffic the area experiences on a daily basis. Add in a dose of distracted driving, and the likelihood of an auto accident increases dramatically. "If you just look around in your cars you will see everyone on their cell phones, it’s actually kind of embarrassing,” Shelby Township Police Chief Robert Shelide told Local 4 News. 

Michigan State Police Car Accident Lawyer

The enhanced crackdown on distracted driving will begin on June 20th, as police will be looking for drivers who are not paying attention to the road or are using their cell phones while driving. The police departments want drivers to know that they are not doing this to simply write tickets, but to save a life instead. Traffic signs and billboards will be scattered throughout the area to bring awareness to drivers. 

If a driver feels it is necessary to use their cell phone while in the vehicle, they are strongly encouraged to pull over and come to a complete stop before sending a message or picture. Distracted driving is becoming a dangerous trend in the United States. Cell phones are estimated to be involved in 1.6 million automobile accidents each year, leading to 6,000 fatalities, according to Don’

Distracted drivers not only put other drivers' lives at risk, they also put their own lives at risk. No text or email or picture is worth ruining someone's life over. If you our somebody you know has been injured in an auto accident because of distracted driving, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our attorneys realize the long-term physical and emotional effects a car accident may have on a victim, and they will not rest until you get the help that you deserve. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Detroit Police Officer Struck By Driver, Alcohol Likely Present

An accident on Detroit, Michigan's West Side left an officer injured on the morning Friday, March 18, 2016. Fox 2 Detroit reported that the suspect made an illegal u-turn in front of a Detroit police officer around 4 in the morning, causing the crash and subsequent injury. The officer who is an 18 year veteran of the Detroit Police Department, was taken to the hospital after the crash to assess his back, neck, and knee pain. He is expected to be fully recover as he was just a little shaken up due to the crash. The driver of the car that struck the police officer was given a citation for OWI (operating while intoxicated). The car accident occurred on Joy Road near Grandmont Avenue. The officer was driving with his lights on and was headed to a domestic situation when the crash occurred.

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Police especially stressed the dangers of drinking and driving following this car crash. "In this day and age, it's absolutely ridiculous anybody would think they can drink and drive," Sgt. Michael Woody said. Police across the country and in major cities like Detroit have been taking a very strong stance on driving while under the influence of alcohol and drugs, implementing programs such as ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.’ These campaigns are working, but some drivers still choose to drive drunk or under the influence of drugs such as marijuana.

There is no way drivers are unaware of  the consequences of drunk driving, but here is a refresher. For a first offender, an OWI can land you up to a year without a license, 6 points on your driving record, potential alcohol treatment programs, up to a $700 fine, up to 180 days in jail, and up to 360 hours of community service. The terms only get worse if it is not your first offence, too. It is always smarter to not drink and drive, for your safety, wallet, and livelihood. And of course, drinking and driving can always result in death too.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident involving a drunk or impaired driver, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our attorneys are highly experienced helping victims of drunk driving car crashes identify and receive any benefits they may be entitled to, under Michigan Law. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.