State looking to Clear The Roads of impaired drivers for July 4th holiday

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

Louisiana law enforcement officers will be out in force during the July 4th holiday to "clear the roads" of impaired drivers, the state's highway safety chief said.

"The Independence Day holiday is a meaningful time for families and friends to travel and visit, but intoxicated drivers have been ruining the party," said Lisa Freeman, executive director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission. "Law enforcement officers across the state will be working overtime to spot and arrest impaired drivers."

State Police, sheriff's offices and police departments across Louisiana have received highway safety grants to fund overtime costs for extra patrols to get impaired drivers off the roads during the holiday, Freeman said. The "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" enforcement effort will be in effect through Thursday, July 5th.

"From 2012 through 2016, 37 people died on Louisiana roads during the July 4th holiday period, and 30 of those deaths involved a driver who had been drinking," Freeman said. "During that five-year period, another 2,682 people were injured, and 423 of those injuries were alcohol-related." The 2016 statistics are the latest verified statistics available from the Highway Safety Research Group at LSU.

"As a former prosecutor, I have seen the physical, emotional and financial costs of impaired driving, and they are devastating," Freeman said. "Our goal is to prevent people from drinking and driving in a loud and clear way, but those who choose not to get the message will be stopped and arrested."

"Anyone who plans to attend a gathering that involves alcohol should also make sure a sober driver is designated beforehand," Freeman said. "And, never let anyone drive a car if they have been drinking, even if they insist they are OK to drive. That's how we can all help to prevent what is preventable."

Contributed by the La. Highway Safety Commission