Cops watch for impaired drivers on New Year’s Eve

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As revelers were out partying on New Year’s Eve, law enforcement was patrolling watching to make sure they got home safe.

“The big thing is drunk drivers,” Kent County Sheriff’s Deputy Tyler Poirier told News 8 during a ride-along Tuesday evening. “Being that it’s a very big bar holiday, you see a lot of drunk drivers out and about.”

Poirier said law enforcement have come to expect more drunken drivers during the holiday season. The good news is that in the last 10 years, the invention of ride-hailing apps has helped curb those numbers.

“Nowadays, you see a lot more Lyft or Uber drivers,” Poirier said. “And usually it’s one of those things where you see one of those and it makes you feel a little bit better because … in my opinion, you see one of those, that’s one less drunk driver out on the road.”

But as one danger slows down, another is just taking off.

“I would say you’re seeing more of a spike in the drugged driving than the drunk driving,” Poirier said.

This as Michigan has legalized the recreational use of marijuana.

“I think the reason being is that people think just because it’s legal now that it’s OK,” Poirier said.

He said officers use a series of field sobriety tests and other law enforcement resources to cite a driver for being impaired by drugs.

There’s no saying what the next decade will bring when it comes to policing the roads, but Poirier thinks drugged driving will continue to be on their radar.