Feb. 13, 2023 - While you’re at the parades catching beads, Louisiana law enforcement officers will be on the road, catching impaired drivers to help you and your loved ones get home safely during the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign through Mardi Gras, February 21.

“This is Louisiana; you can and should let the good times roll during Carnival season,” said Lisa Freeman, executive director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission. “But if you drink and drive, your good times will come to a quick stop.”

From 2017 through 2021 in Louisiana, 15 people were killed and 507 people were injured in alcohol-related crashes during the Carnival season, according to data from the Center for Analytics and Research in Transportation Safety at LSU. Data from 2022 has not been finalized, but preliminary numbers show at least 10 people died last Carnival season in crashes in which at least one driver had been drinking.

Besides being a violation of the law and potentially deadly, impaired driving is costly. Those convicted of DWI can expect to pay up to $10,000 in court and legal costs, vehicle impound fees, and increased insurance rates. In some parts of Louisiana, first-time offenders also undergo court-mandated substance abuse assessments.

During the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign the LHSC funds law enforcement agencies to conduct enhanced patrols on the roads. The campaign ends at midnight, Tuesday, Feb. 21.

“We run this safety campaign during Carnival season, since it’s a vulnerable time for road users with so many people on the roads, with schools being out for a few days, and with people having fun soaking in the culture and fun,” Freeman said. “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over is about protecting those adults and children from drivers who make destructive choices.”

If you plan on drinking alcohol at a parade or party, designate a sober driver, Freeman said. Better yet, volunteer to be a designated driver for others who have been drinking and need a safe ride home.

“The best way to let the good times roll is to roll with a sober driver,” Freeman said.