Campaign to Save Lives

Officials Note Holiday Campaign to Save Lives

Law enforcement agencies from across Louisiana have teamed up to participate in “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over”, a statewide and national campaign designed to save lives over this year’s Christmas and New Year’s holiday.

During the 2012 Christmas and New Year’s holiday period, 12 people were killed and more than 1,300 were injured in highway crashes in Louisiana.

Alcohol use was a factor in more than half of last year’s highway fatalities during the long end-of-the-year holiday. This year’s “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign runs from now through January 1.

“For many Louisiana people, this season is filled with back-to-back parties and long road trips to visit friends and family,” said Lt. Col. John LeBlanc, executive director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission.

“The combination of more vehicles on the road and increased alcohol consumption can result in greater chances of being involved in a crash,” he said.

To help save lives, the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission is coordinating the statewide “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign. As part of the campaign, law enforcement agencies are awarded grants that they use for overtime patrols and check points dedicated to getting impaired drivers off the road. Local law enforcement agencies statewide and State Police are participating in the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign.

“Nothing can be more devastating than the tragedy of losing a loved one due to impaired driving – especially during these holidays,” said Col. Mike Edmonson, State Police superintendent.

“Throughout the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, troopers, along with our law enforcement partners, will be doing our part to keep the highways safe,” he said. “We ask everyone to partner with us and make the right decision by not drinking and driving. When we say, “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over”, we mean it.”

Last year in Louisiana, police made more than 27,500 DWI arrests. Alcohol was a factor in 41 percent of Louisiana’s fatal crashes in 2012. Young adults are among those at greatest risk of driving impaired, and males make up an overwhelming majority of drivers killed in alcohol-related crashes.

Louisiana laws provide significant penalties for impaired drivers, especially repeat offenders. One law imposes 15-day jail sentences on people caught driving while their licenses are suspended for a previous DWI violation.

Another measure suspends for one-year licenses of suspects who refuse to take a blood alcohol concentration test. A 2008 law requires some DWI offenders to install ignition interlocks in their vehicles. A first-offense DWI arrest can cost a driver more than $1,000 in fines, court costs, attorneys’ fees, plus increases in their insurance premiums.