June 30, 2021 - Despite repeated warnings that drinking and driving is a dangerous and illegal activity, thousands of people each year in Louisiana still get behind the wheel when they’ve had too much alcohol.
During the July Fourth holiday, a lot of those drivers risk losing their own independence during Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, a concentrated, statewide law enforcement effort to get impaired drivers off the road. The campaign, sponsored by the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, runs through Monday, July 5.
“Extra law enforcement officers across Louisiana will be on patrol through Monday to specifically find and stop impaired drivers,” LHSC Executive Director Lisa Freeman said. “These officers have been trained to recognize impaired drivers, and they will arrest those who are caught.”
In 2019, the latest year for which verified statistics are available, there were at least 17,080 cases of drivers' being tested for impairment in Louisiana, according to the Center for Analytics and Research in Transportation Safety at LSU. In more than half of those cases, the suspected driver had a blood-alcohol content of .10%, well above the presumptive limit of impairment, which is .08%.
Impaired drivers are more likely to be involved in crashes that cause injuries or deaths. In 2019, impaired drivers were involved in 270 fatal crashes and 2,848 crashes that caused injuries, according to CARTS. During holiday periods, such as Independence Day, more drivers are on the road, making it even more important to keep the roads as safe as possible.
“During the 2019 July Fourth holiday period alone, there were 70 alcohol-involved crashes that resulted in three people being killed and 97 people being injured,” Freeman said. “We want to get those numbers down to zero. With help from our law enforcement partners across Louisiana, we are fixed on that goal.”
LHSC also is using its social media channels to spread the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over message. A 60-second video promoting the campaign is running on the agency’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.