La. Highway Safety Commission warns holiday motorist

Dear Editor:

The chances of spending time in jail will be greatly increased for anyone who drives while intoxicated on a Louisiana highway in the weeks before Labor Day.

More than 90 police departments, sheriff’s offices and Louisiana State Police are participating in the “You Drink and Drive, You Lose,” campaign under which officers are working thousand of overtime hours dedicated to getting drunk drivers off our Louisiana Highways.

The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission is joining with the Louisiana State Police, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the local law enforcement agencies for this crackdown, which runs from August 19-September 5. Law enforcement officers are out in full force during this 18-day period, working at least 60 hours of additional overtime per agency to arrest drunk drivers and get them off the roads.

Together, the participation agencies are working a total of 5,340 hours dedicated to enforcing Louisiana’s drunken driving laws. The initiatives also include a concentrated, statewide advertising campaign that warns motorist of the consequences of driving while intoxicated.

Our State Police troops and other law enforcements agencies are not working overtime because they enjoy writing: they are working to save lives, Last year, 46 percent of all of our state’s traffic fatalities were alcohol related, a number that is six percentage points higher than the national average. Almost one-third off all fatalities among 15-20 year old drivers in our state is alcohol related.

Since it is illegal for these young people to purchase or consume alcohol in the first place, these numbers go a long way showing campaigns such as “You Drink & Drive. You Lose” are necessary in Louisiana.

Most Louisiana motorist obeys the law and do not have to worry about getting arrested for driving while under the influence. However, times will be tough for those who insist on endangering their lives and the lives of others by driving while intoxicated.

James E. Champagne

Executve Director

Governor’s Highway Safety