As communities across Louisiana prepare to celebrate the 4th of July, the Louisiana State Police want to remind everyone to make safety a top priority to ensure an enjoyable holiday for everyone traveling on Louisiana’s roadways. With the onset of weekend activities comes an increase in traffic on our highways.

Unfortunately, the holiday festivities can also lead to an increase in drunk driving. According to statistics from the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, in 2007, 16 people were killed across Louisiana in highway crashes over the 4th of July holiday. That figure fell to 8 in 2008, 2 in 2009 and 2 in 2010.  Both of last year’s 4th of July holiday deaths involved alcohol.

In an effort to reduce alcohol related crashes this holiday weekend, Louisiana State Police troopers along with law enforcement agencies across the state are participating in this year’s 4th of July Drunk Driving - Over the Limit. Under Arrest’ campaign designed to save lives by keeping impaired drivers off the road.

As part of the nationwide campaign, law enforcement officials will be utilizing overtime grants to increase patrols and conduct specialized enforcement activities such as numerous DWI checkpoints planned across the state.  In addition to increased DWI enforcement, troopers will be focusing on motorists not wearing seat belts, unrestrained children in vehicles, and any dangerous driving behaviors such as speeding, following too close, and especially driving while distracted.

‘The Louisiana State Police are committed to providing a safe environment for both our citizens and visitors to our state throughout the holiday weekend,’ explains LSP Superintendent Colonel Mike Edmonson.  ‘While troopers across the state will be on constant patrol throughout the holiday, the public shares an equally important role in keeping our roadways safe by making responsible decisions and always designating a sober driver.’

To ensure the safety of everyone this holiday, numerous parishes across the state will once again be participating with law enforcement in conducting a No Refusal weekend. The implementation of the No Refusal weekend is based on the nationwide trend during certain holiday periods when alcohol consumption is likely to increase.  To combat this trend and reduce the number of injuries and fatalities caused by impaired drivers, agencies across the state will implement the No Refusal initiative to ensure that every person arrested for DWI will submit to a test.

Following these easy steps, drivers can enjoy a safe and festive holiday without jeopardizing lives on the road:

  • Plan a safe way home before holiday festivities begin;
  • Before drinking,  please designate a sober driver and give that person your keys;
  • If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation so you are sure to get home safely;
  • If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact your local law enforcement.
  • Remember, if you know someone who is about to drive while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

The task of stopping impaired drivers is a joint effort of law enforcement agencies and the public. By never allowing an impaired driver to get behind the wheel of a vehicle and reporting dangerous drivers to law enforcement agencies, the public can play an important role in the reduction of crashes, injuries and deaths.

To report impaired drivers or unsafe roadway conditions, you may dial *LSP (*577) from your cellular phone to reach the State Police office closest to you.  For information on road construction or detours, please use the motorist information system and dial “511” or visit the LSP website here.

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