Aug. 18, 2023 - Impaired driving remains a serious public safety issue in Louisiana, especially around holidays. That’s why the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission funds the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement mobilization from August 18 through the September 4 Labor Day weekend.
During Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, law enforcement agencies receive overtime funding for additional patrols to carry out impaired driving enforcement.
“Drunk and drugged driving not only harm and kill Louisiana drivers but also anyone else they may encounter on the road,” LHSC Executive Director Lisa Freeman said. “LHSC participates in the national drive sober program because far too many people are suffering due to impairment behind the wheel.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 531 traffic crash deaths occurred nationwide during Labor Day weekend in 2021, and 41% of those involved a driver who had been drinking. Comparing data from NHTSA and the Center for Analytics and Research in Transportation Safety at LSU, it appears that 38 people died in Louisiana crashes on Labor Day weekend from 2017-2021, and over 52% of those crashes involved alcohol.
Moreover, data from CARTS shows that 392 people were injured in crashes that involved a driver who had been drinking on Labor Day weekend from 2017-2021.
Overall, in 2021, 349 people died in crashes in Louisiana where a driver had been drinking (over 0.01 BAC), and 299 of those deaths involved a driver testing over the 0.08 BAC limit, according to NHTSA. Data from CARTS reveals that the most alcohol-related fatal crashes in Louisiana since 2008 were recorded in 2021.
“It represents a disturbing trend because behind the statistics are families and friends who mourn the loved ones they lost,” Freeman said. “We learned recently at our first-ever Impaired Driving Symposium that polysubstance abuse is a huge problem, and it presents greater challenges for enforcement.”
In 2021, 36% of all traffic deaths in Louisiana involved a driver who had been drinking, according to NHTSA.
“Plan ahead by getting a designated sober driver or by taking a cab or rideshare service,” Freeman said. “People who drive while they are drunk or high are making a choice to put innocent people at risk. Remember, if you feel different, you drive different.”
For more information about drunk driving or drug-impaired driving, visit https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/. En Español, https://www.nhtsa.gov/es/conducir-de-forma-riesgosa/.