'Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over' campaign aimed at safe roadways - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

'Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over' campaign aimed at safe roadways

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

Christmas has come and gone and New Year's is just around the corner, heightening law enforcement's awareness of drinking and driving.

The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission's "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign, part of a national effort, is gearing up with local law enforcement to make sure highways are safe.

Ringing in the New Year often means celebrating with family and friends and having a drink or two, but for law enforcement and highway officials, it's the peak period for making DWI arrests.

"It's a terrible idea to drive while intoxicated but we know that during the New Year there's an additional risk because so many party-goers are on the road," said John LeBlanc, executive director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission.

Some of those party-goers have contributed to the number of alcohol-related deaths in the state alone.

"Last year, about 41 percent of our fatal crashes involved alcohol. So, we try to designate our resources where they do the most good and we know that if we can have an impact here we can save some lives," LeBlanc said.

Those resources are distributed among regional law enforcement agencies and come in many different forms. As Commander James McGee with the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office explains:

"There's several different parts of the money that we use. We use it for over time for our deputies to go and do these details, that's majority of the money... But we are also well funded with equipment. We have a trailer that is designated strictly for checkpoints and DWI enforcement details," McGee said.

And the resources and time spent enforcing driving sober proves beneficial.

"We hope that everybody heeds this warning and doesn't drink and drive but if they do we're going to be out there enforcing that," McGee said.

Last year alone, officials made over 30,000 DWI arrests in the state.

Copyright 2012 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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