La. Highway Safety Commission says designate sober driver prior to partying

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

It's always a terrible idea to drive while intoxicated, but the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission reminds motorists that New Year's Eve poses additional risks because so many party goers are on the roads.

Police, sheriffs' deputies and State Police will be out in force this New Year's Eve working overtime to keep roads free of drunken drivers. The Commission provides grants to local police, sheriffs and State Police to step up patrols and checkpoints dedicated to DWI enforcement during certain holiday periods, including New Year's.

"An important step in remaining safe if you're partying this New Year's Eve is to plan ahead and arrange for a cab or designated driver who hasn't been drinking to get you home," said Lt. Col. John LeBlanc, executive director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission. "Last year, alcohol was a factor in 41 percent of all crash deaths in Louisiana, making it one of the leading causes of fatal crashes."

The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission's "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign is in effect through Jan. 1. Safety officials believe such campaigns, along with other factors, have played a role in helping reduce traffic deaths in Louisiana. Officers made almost 30,000 DWI arrests in 2011.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers the following recommendations for holiday partiers:

Designate your sober driver before the party begins and leave your car keys at home if you plan to drink.

Avoid drinking too much alcohol too fast. Pace yourself—eat enough food, take breaks and alternate with non-alcoholic beverages.

Do not drink unless you are 21 or older.

Add the number of local cab companies to your phone so they are just a touch away.

Always buckle up—it's your best defense on the road.