The Independence Day holiday weekend is one of the busiest travel periods of the year as the summer season is getting into full swing. The resulting increase in traffic volume often leads to more crashes. Motorists should remain attentive to their surroundings, exercise patience, show courtesy to other motorists, and limit distractions inside the vehicle. These behaviors can make highway travel safer for all of us.
Throughout the Fourth of July holiday weekend, Louisiana State Police will have additional troopers on patrol looking for aggressive and impaired drivers. This additional manpower is made possible by funding provided by the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission.
Every year across our nation, impaired drivers kill or injure thousands of people. Impaired driving is a deadly crime that remains prevalent in Louisiana. In 2019, impaired drivers were involved in 39.6% of fatal crashes in our state. The drunk driving death rate in Louisiana is 5.2 deaths per 100,000 people and is higher than the national average of 3.2, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Troopers will be working closely with local law enforcement agencies to make holiday travel safer by participating in this year’s “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” nationwide enforcement campaign. The campaign is designed to save lives by keeping impaired drivers off the road and reducing roadway fatalities.
Motorists should designate a safe and sober driver before heading to any location where alcohol will be consumed. To report impaired drivers, motorists are encouraged to dial *LSP (*577) from their cellular phone or contact local law enforcement by dialing 911.
Last year in our state, 59% of drivers and 62% of passengers killed in crashes were not wearing a seatbelt. Unfortunately, Louisiana has a seatbelt usage rate of 87.5%, which is below the national average of 90.7%. Louisiana law requires all occupants to be properly restrained regardless of their age or seating position, day and night. While not all crashes are survivable, seatbelts can greatly decrease the likelihood of death or serious injury in the event of a crash.