State Police target impaired drivers
MORGAN CITY, La. -- Louisiana State Police troopers are partnering with local law enforcement in a cooperative effort to ensure a safe and enjoyable July 4th holiday for everyone.
St. Mary Sheriff Mark Hebert cautioned against the dangers of both drinking and driving and the heat. With increased temperatures, he reminded those enjoying the outdoors to increase water intake and get in the shade when possible.
During holidays, there is an increase in traffic volume, which can lead to more crashes, State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson said.
Motorists need to remain attentive to their surroundings, exercise patience, extend respect and courtesy to other motorists and avoid distractions inside the vehicle, he said.
Throughout the holiday weekend, 5 p.m. today through Sunday, Edmonson said troopers will be targeting aggressive drivers, impaired drivers, those who choose not to wear their seatbelts and those who choose not to secure their children in child restraints. These motorists are responsible for many of the fatal crashes the office investigates, he said.
“Troopers will continue to work diligently with our law enforcement partners to aid in the removal of impaired drivers from our roadways,” Edmonson said.
“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,” Edmonson said.
In Louisiana, 263 of the 629 fatal crashes (42 percent) in 2011 involved alcohol, according to state police data.
Troopers will be working closely with local law enforcement agencies to participate 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.
Along with the state police, 76 local law enforcement agencies are participating in this year’s campaign.
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.
Driving while intoxicated is a serious offense in Louisiana, with a first-offense arrest costing as much as $1,000 in fines, plus court costs and even jail time. A driver over 21 can be arrested in Louisiana if his or her blood alcohol concentration is .08 or higher.
Anyone observing unsafe or impaired drivers, should report them to the nearest Troop by dialing *577 (*LSP) from a cell phone or by contacting the local law enforcement agency.