A new pilot program has begun for the 15th judicial district that aims to identify mental health issues along with substance abuse issues for people who are found to be driving impaired.

The CARS assessment stands for Computerized Assessment and Referral System. When some get a third or fourth DWI then court officials look at sentencing them to rehab. Or if someone has a mental health issue, then they can be referred to a different type of program for help. The point is this assessment comes after a third or fourth offense. With the new pilot program, first and second-offense DWI offenders will be assessed for these issues.

Which Areas Will Be Impacted?

Lafayette Parish Courthouse
Google Maps/Google Streetview

All of the district courts within the 15th judicial district will now be using this program. That means all the district courts in Acadia, Lafayette, and Vermilion parishes. The assessments, under CARS, will also be implemented in the city courts of Abbeville, Crowley, Kaplan, Lafayette, and Rayne.

The Governors Highway Safety Association received grant money for this program which was given to the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission to coordinate how it's being administered in this trial phase.

Louisiana State Police
State Police Facebook

According to Louisiana State Police Troop I Spokesman Trooper Thomas Gossen in the state of Louisiana there is a fatal traffic crash every nine and a half hours. He says that forty percent of fatal crashes had alcohol impairment as a contributing factor. He says percentages are higher when you factor in impairment by drugs.

Judge Jules Edwards
Facebook/Edwards for City Judge

Think about what Judge Jules Edwards has to say about impaired driving,

We know that, in most cases, by the time offenders receive their third DWI conviction, they have driven impaired on numerous occasions. If there is an underlying cause for this dangerous behavior, we need to identify it as soon as possible to get the offender the help that he needs and improve public safety.

You can read more about how this assessment works by clicking here.

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