Designate a driver this weekend
Mardi Gras is Louisiana’s deadliest driving holiday because revelers are usually drinking alcohol and traveling to Fat Tuesday celebrations around the parish.
In 2010, Mardi Gras proved to be relatively dangerous in Louisiana, according to the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission. There were 509 fatal and injury crashes. It was the highest figure during all holiday seasons, with around 50 percent of the fatalities linked to alcohol.
According to the LHSC, in 2011, alcohol was a factor in 41 percent of all traffic deaths in Louisiana and 31 percent nationwide in 2010. Alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes is higher on holidays, weekends and during evening hours.
In Jeff Davis Parish, the weekend proved to be the most dangerous, as well. LHSC reports there were a total of 6 crashes with injuries during the week of the Mardi Gras holiday with two of those being alcohol-related. The Mardi Gras holiday here proved to be the most dangerous time to be on the roadways as compared to other major holidays throughout the year including New Year’s Eve.
These numbers should be a warning to all drivers. Do not drink and drive. It’s dangerous, and can end up hurting you, a loved one or even worse, an innocent stranger.
Local law enforcement will be stepping up patrols this weekend to keep the roadways safe for residents.
Driving while intoxicated is a serious offense in Louisiana, with a first-offense arrest costing as much as $1,000 in fines, plus court costs and even jail time. An adult driver can be arrested in Louisiana if his or her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 or higher. The limit for drivers under 21 is 0.02 BAC.
Drivers and passengers are also reminded to wear their seat belts at all times, especially during the holiday season. Louisiana law requires front- and rear-seat passengers to buckle up while their vehicle is in motion. Regular seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect individuals and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes.
If you plan on drinking during Mardi Gras, designate a driver among your friends. This one move could save your life. And of course, if you do drink try to do so in moderation.
For more driving safety tips and crash statistics, visit LHSC website at http://www.lahighwaysafety.org.
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