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December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. The month of December was chosen for this initiative due to the increase in travel and impaired driving each year between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. As the holiday party season approaches, several agencies are joining forces to keep the roads safe. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission are coordinating an annual campaign to target impaired drivers and help keep motorists safe. The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign will run from December 13th through January 1st.
The campaign highlights a constant police presence with the goal of deterring people from drinking and driving. Many law enforcement agencies across Louisiana will schedule additional officers to saturate roadway patrol efforts and to conduct checkpoints for seat belt usage and impaired drivers. The U.S. DOT is gearing up to spend millions of dollars on the campaign. This amount is above the amount already budgeted and spent during this time period. The funds will help to cover things like advertising to spread the message and additional expenses such as overtime pay incurred by agencies. Louisiana’s no refusal policy gives officers the ability to test for impairment even if the driver refused to take the initial roadside breathalyzer test, so hopefully more officers on the road will lead to preventing accidents.
With additional funds being spent on advertising, motorists will hopefully think before they drink. If you see a driver that appears to be impaired, contact your local law enforcement. In Louisiana, you can dial *LSP (*577). When communities know that law enforcement is extra committed to catching drunk drivers, it encourages extra pairs of eyes on the road.
If you feel different, you drive different. Motorists should have a plan to get home safely BEFORE deciding to drink. Driving under the influence of drugs is also illegal and dangerous. Make sure you understand the effects of even prescription or over-the-counter medication as many drugs have the potential of affecting your ability to drive safely. For those motorists that are not using alcohol or drugs but must pass through inconvenient checkpoints, just remember that these stops help to save lives. Your cooperation during these checkpoints helps to keep things running smoothly.
Share the news of this campaign like you share those funny memes! Remind your family and friends of the importance of driving sober. Raising awareness for safety on the roadway is an important job we can all help with. The holiday season is merry and bright…until you look at drunk driving statistics during this time. Deadly crashes tend to spike around major holidays. Smart Start of Louisiana is always ready with information about how we can help keep the roads safe. Call (866) 447-8686 or contact us online for more information.
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