Nationwide in 2009, 10,839 people died in crashes in which a driver or motorcycle rider was at or above the legal limit. Last year, 303 of the 720 people killed on Louisiana roads were involved in alcohol-related crashes.
Lt. Col. John LeBlanc, executive director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, said the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign will be active at all times, and that extra emphasis will be placed on periods in which drunk driving is more likely to occur, such as holidays and weekends.
The campaign includes broadcast announcements targeted at young male drivers and motorcycle riders, who are the most common perpetrators of impaired driving.
"The number of crash deaths in Louisiana has declined in recent years and we believe part of that is due to the effective statewide enforcement and public outreach efforts of Louisiana State Police, local law enforcement agencies and the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission," LeBlanc said. "The new Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign capitalizes on past achievements and additional tactics to save lives."
The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission issues grants to State Police and local law enforcement agencies that are used for a variety of programs. Agencies use much of their grant money for extra DWI and seat belt patrols, especially during peak driving periods. Agencies have also used grants to purchase equipment that makes their law enforcement efforts more efficient.
Highway safety officials place strong emphasis on DWI issues because drunk driving is a leading cause of crash deaths and injuries. Some facts involving drunk driving include:
In 2009, 8,976 people 21 to 34 years old were killed in motor vehicle crashes nationwide. Of those, 47 percent were killed in alcohol-impaired crashes.
Alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes was four times higher at night than during the day.
Thirty-one percent of drivers involved in fatal crashes on weekends were alcohol-impaired, compared with 16 percent during weekdays.
The percentage of drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2009 was highest for motorcycle riders (29 percent), followed by drivers of light trucks (23 percent) and passenger cars (23 percent).