“Don’t drink and drive,” is the expression that many are told repeatedly throughout the year. The holiday season is no different, and unfortunately sees its fair share of injuries and fatalities. According to the Center for Analytics and Research in Transportation at LSU, two people were killed and 74 were injured in alcohol-related crashes on Louisiana roads during New Year’s Eve 2018. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that there were 285 deaths from Christmas 2018 to New Year’s Eve 2018. 

Lisa Freeman of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission has stated that the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over law enforcement campaign will see many drunk and impaired drivers spend time behind bars. 

The campaign is designed to ensure that those impaired drivers who are endangering themselves and others are made to face real consequences for their actions.

"When law enforcement pulls an impaired driver off the road, that's a step toward keeping everyone else safe," Freeman said. "There will be no 'just a warning' roadside stops. Impaired drivers that are caught will go to jail."

Freeman added that it is not just drunk drivers who will be subject to this. She noted that drivers impaired by prescription drugs will also face consequences for endangering themselves and others on the road.

"Even prescribed medication can affect how you drive, so do not get behind the wheel until you know how your medications affect you, and always follow label warnings," Freeman said.

 

The Louisiana State Police recently released the following suggestions to stay safe during holiday travel:

 

Designate a sober driver

·    Thousands of people are seriously injured or killed due to impaired driving each year.  Never get behind the wheel impaired or get in a vehicle with a driver who is impaired.

·    Alcohol, prescription drugs, and other drugs have many effects on the body.  They can impair visual ability, alter sense of time and space, impair fine motor skills needed to operate a motor vehicle, and decrease reaction times.

·    Designate a sober driver before traveling to any place.  A designated driver is one who has had nothingalcoholic to drink and is also not under the influence of legal or illegal drugs.

·    Plan ahead.  Call a taxi, ride-sharing service, or a trusted person for a ride or just stay at your location.

 

Buckle-up

Louisiana law requires every person in a vehicle, regardless of seating position, to be properly restrained, day or night. 

Troopers urge all drivers and passengers in motor vehicles to understand that failure to buckle up can quickly become a tragic and fatal decision.

Statistics show that the chances of surviving a violent crash rise significantly when properly restrained. 

 

Child passenger restraints

Louisiana law requires all children to be properly restrained. 

If your travel plans take you out of our state, please visit www.saferide4kids.com for a list of current child passenger restraint laws by state.  Every Louisiana State Police Troop is recognized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as a child safety seat “Inspection Station”.  Please take advantage of these free services to ensure the safety of your child.

 

Distractions

·    Inattentive and distracted drivers account for a large number of serious crashes across the state every year.  You can effectively reduce the chances of being involved in a crash by remaining focused on the task of driving while behind the wheel of a vehicle.

There are three primary types of distractions: visual, manual, and cognitive.

Visual distractions are those that take your eyes off the road, such as checking your GPS or navigation system or searching for lost items on the floor of the vehicle.

Manual distractions are those that take your hands off the wheel, such as texting, eating, drinking, or locating items in a purse.

Cognitive distractions are those that take the driver’s focus away from driving, such as talking with passengers, singing songs, listening to podcasts, or dealing with emotional or work stress.

 

Pedestrians or bicyclists

·    If you travel on foot or bicycle, wear bright clothing and remain aware of traffic on the roadway.  Use proper lighting at night.

 

Motorcyclists

·    Motorcyclists must wear a proper D.O.T. approved helmet when operating a motorcycle on Louisiana roadways.  Although not all crashes are survivable, properly utilizing safety equipment, like approved motorcycle helmets and proper clothing, greatly decrease your risk of serious injury or death.