NEWS

Troopers Urge Safe Travel and Personal Responsibility During New Year Festivities

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

Baton Rouge – The New Year’s Eve holiday is known as a time of revelry and traditional celebrations with family and friends. With that in mind, Louisiana State Police would like to see one holiday tradition come to an end.  With the rise of celebratory gatherings comes an increase in traffic on our highways and tragically an increase in serious injury and fatal crashes due to poor decisions both while behind the wheel and as pedestrians.  To combat this trend, Troopers are joining forces with other state and local law enforcement agencies to conduct proactive enforcement supporting the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Campaign. 

In the month of December alone, Troopers across the state have investigated 38 fatal crashes resulting in 46 deaths due to largely preventable factors including driver impairment and unrestrained occupants.  Troopers urge holiday revelers to have a plan in place before enjoying New Year’s Eve celebrations and make safety a top priority.

“We all must do our part to bring this deadly holiday tradition to an end.  While the immediate effects of these crashes are felt by the victims’ families, the consequences are often far reaching affecting friends, coworkers, first responders, and the entire community,” said Colonel Mike Edmonson, State Police Superintendent. “The public and law enforcement must work together to prevent the needless loss of life on our roadways.  We wish citizens across our state a happy and safe New Year and hope to see everyone making good responsible decisions.” 

By understanding and following the safety guidelines below, motorists can greatly reduce their chances of being involved in a serious injury or fatality crash.

Always plan for a designated driver

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

·       Alcohol has many effects on the body. Alcohol can impair visual ability, impair fine motor skills needed to operate a motor vehicle, and increase reaction times. Just ONE drink may cause these effects.

·       A designated driver is one who has had NOTHING alcoholic to drink.

·       Call a taxi or a trusted person for a ride or just stay put.

Always buckle-up

·       Louisiana law requires that every person in a motor vehicle, regardless of seating position, always remain buckled. According to statistics, Louisiana’s seat belt compliance remains under the national average. 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.

Minimize in-vehicle 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.

Pedestrians or bicyclists

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

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.

Motorists can report impaired drivers or unsafe roadway conditions by dialing *LSP (*577) from your cellular phone to reach the State Police Troop closest to them. Citizens and visitors are also urged to enroll in Nixle Alerts for real time updates on roadway closures, crash locations, and pertinent safety information for their region. To enroll, visit www.nixle.com, complete the required information and select Louisiana State Police as your agency.                                                       

For more information regarding specific enforcement activities and safety campaigns in your area, please contact your local LSP Public Information Officer or visit the Louisiana State Police Facebook page at www.facebook.com/LouisianaStatePolice.