Safe, sober driving should be an early New Year's resolution

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

Louisiana Highway Safety Commission Executive Director Lisa Freeman is urging all drivers to make an early New Year's resolution - set an example for younger drivers by committing to never drive when you're impaired by alcohol or drugs.

"New Year's Eve should be a joyous time of celebrating the past and anticipating good times to come with family and friends," Freeman said. "Taking a firm stand against impaired driving keeps you and your passengers safe, and it sets a good example for others, particularly younger drivers."

"Older children who are just starting to drive are still impressionable, and they need to understand that impaired driving is a deadly and illegal act," Freeman said. "A parent or older adult's example can go a long way toward instilling good habits in younger drivers."

The New Year's Eve holiday period can be a deadly one on Louisiana highways. According to statistics from the Highway Safety Research Group at LSU 3,789 persons were hurt, and 85 persons died in crashes over the last five years on Louisiana roadways. The statistics show that 462 of those injuries involved an impaired driver, as did 69 of the fatalities. Since 2013, more than 80 percent of all roadway fatalities in Louisiana during the New Year's Eve holiday involved alcohol, Freeman said.

Planning ahead before celebrating the New Year or any event is critical, and having a designated driver or alternative means of transportation, such as a taxi or rideshare service, is the responsible substitute to driving impaired. Through a state grant program, LHSC is able to offer discounted rides through the rideshare service Lyft through January 1st. You can download the free Lyft app and use the code "RIDESMARTLA" for the discount. Lyft service is available in Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Monroe, New Orleans and Shreveport.

Contributed by the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission