The 52-1 District Court, leading a coalition of Oakland County District Courts along with Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, Oakland County Community Corrections, Jail Alternatives for Michigan, and Michigan House Arrest began a program now entitled Courts Holiday Enforcement for the Community (CHEC) on September 1, 2000.
There is general agreement that individuals who suffer from serious alcohol problems are more likely to get drunk and drive during major holiday periods. Five major holiday periods - Labor Day, Thanksgiving, New Years, Memorial Day, and the Fourth of July - appear to have the largest number of drunk driving-related deaths. During these five holiday periods, in 1998 nationally, 1,044 people were killed in alcohol related traffic crashes. The purpose of CHEC is to increase the level of scrutiny during these holidays upon those individuals who have been convicted of drunk driving and are under the supervision of either the 52-1 District Court or one of the other participating District Courts.
CHEC is based upon the very successful Y2CARE program. Over the 1999/2000 New Year's Eve Holiday period, 1,302 individuals who were convicted of driving drunk were required to participate in the testing program. Of the 1,302 defendants that were ordered into the Y2CARE program, 1,214 appeared to be tested. Only 9 tested positive for any alcohol and of these only 2 were legally intoxicated. Thus, of these at-risk individuals, ninety-three percent were confirmed to be sober over the New Years Eve holiday period.
Due to the success of Y2CARE, the 52-1 District Court along with the 43rd, 46th, 50th, 52-3, and 52-4 District Courts, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, Oakland County Community Corrections, Jail Alternatives from Michigan, and Michigan House Arrest created seven new alcohol testing sites throughout southeastern Michigan. These sites are staffed by members of each organization and volunteers from Mothers Against Drunk Driving. At these sites defendants appear for alcohol and drug testing in the morning and again in the evening. They are charged $5.00 per day for the testing; no tax dollars are used.
In 2001, the original District Courts from Oakland County were joined by the 17th, 19th, 21st, and 35th District Courts in Wayne County. Three additional testing sites were also created.
In 2002, after looking at drunk driving crash data, the 52-1 District Court required individual defendants to appear on St Patricks day for testing.
By the end of 2002, the 52-1 District Court alone has ordered some 9,000 individual tests on the designated holiday periods. Eighty-nine percent or 7,263 times, individual defendants appeared and only two percent of the defendants, or 177 tested positive for alcohol; none for illegal drugs. As a result of CHEC, the roads in Wayne and Oakland County are safer during these holidays.
- Parents' drinking behavior and favorable attitudes about drinking have been positively associated with adolescents initiating and continuing drinking.
- Youth who drink before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who being drinking at age 21.
- An early age of drinking onset is associated with alcohol-related violence not only among persons under age 21 but among adults as well.
- Each year, college students spend approximately $5.5 billion on alcohol - more than they spend on soft drinks, milk, juice, tea, coffee and books combined.
- Fifty-four percent of teenage motor vehicle deaths in 2000 occurred on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.