Responsible Choices Urged For Safe Travel

LAStatePolicedrivesoberBaton Rouge, LA- Louisiana State Police will have an increased number of Troopers on patrol this week and throughout the Fourth of July holiday.  This extra allocation in manpower is made possible by funding provided by the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission.  As communities across our state prepare to celebrate our nation’s independence, Louisiana State Troopers are partnering with local law enforcement in a cooperative effort to ensure a safe and enjoyable holiday for everyone.

During holidays, we see an increase in travel/traffic volume, which can lead to more crashes. Motorists need to remain attentive to their surroundings, exercise patience, extend respect and courtesy to other motorists, and avoid/limit distractions inside the vehicle.  These are behaviors that we should practice each and every day.

This week and throughout the Fourth of July holiday, we will be targeting aggressive drivers, impaired drivers, those that choose not to wear their seatbelts, and those that choose not to secure their children in child restraints.  Motorists who drive aggressively, drive impaired, or do not take the time to wear seatbelts and secure children are responsible for many of the fatal crashes we investigate.

“Troopers will continue to work diligently with our law enforcement partners to aid in the removal of impaired drivers from our roadways,” said Colonel Mike Edmonson, State Police Superintendent.  “These types of proactive enforcement practices are performed every day, in our state, to aid in a safer driving environment for all.  You can rest assured that we will do our part, but it is the responsibility of each driver/citizen to make good decisive decisions to help combat driving impaired.  We encourage all citizens and visitors to make sure all occupants inside their vehicle are properly restrained, limit distractions, and designate a sober driver in order to arrive at their destination safely.”

Every year across our nation, impaired drivers kill or injure thousands of people.  Impaired driving is a deadly crime and is still way too prevalent in Louisiana, especially common in young males 21 to 34 years old.  Nationally, alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes were four times higher at night than during the day and thirty-one percent of drivers involved in fatal crashes on weekends were impaired on alcohol, compared to sixteen percent during the weekdays.

In Louisiana, 263 of the 629 fatal crashes (42%) in 2011 involved alcohol.  Troopers will be working closely with local law enforcement agencies to make vehicular travel as safe as possible and will be participating in this year’s nationwide enforcement effort “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign designed to save lives by keeping impaired drivers off the road and reduce roadway fatalities.  Across the state, Troopers will be participating in DWI checkpoints and saturation patrols.

According to statistics from the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, preliminary data indicates that all three of 2012’s Fourth of July holiday crash deaths were alcohol related. In 2011, seven people were killed in crashes over the Fourth of July holiday, with more than half of those involving alcohol.

Louisiana law requires that all occupants be properly restrained regardless of their age or seating position.  While not all crashes are survivable, seatbelts can greatly decrease the occupant’s chance of death and will greatly reduce the extent of injury.

As Troopers, we are dedicated in the mission of providing a safer environment for all our families.  We will be particularly targeting the Interstate and federal highways but at the same time will continue to have a strong officer presence on state and parish roadways.

This is a community effort, so we are asking for your help.  If someone should observe unsafe or impaired drivers, please report them to your nearest Troop by dialing *577 (*LSP) from a cellular phone or your local law enforcement agency.

The responsible choice is to drive sober.  Your safety and the safety of others depend on your choice.