Holiday weekend safety - on land and water - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Holiday weekend safety - on land and water

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(Source: KPLC) (Source: KPLC)

The Fourth of July weekend - and a clear forecast for Southwest Louisiana - means more people will be traveling on the roads and waterways.

On the road:

With thousands on the road, Louisiana State Police want to remind everyone how careful they must be: 

Unfortunately, this will be a sad reminder for five families in our state who lost loved ones in crashes during the 2016 July Fourth weekend. One of those lives lost was Sterlington Police Officer David Elahi, who was tragically struck and killed while on duty by an impaired driver.

This weekend, the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign will be in full force. Patrol efforts and DWI checkpoints throughout the state will be set up in hopes to remove impaired drivers from roads.

LSP says the Fourth of July weekend is one of the deadliest holidays of the year due to impaired driving.

Here's some tips from LSP:

•    Designate a sober driver ahead of time before you start the party.
•    If you become intoxicated, do not drive for any reason.
•    Call a taxi, phone a sober friend or family member, or use public transit.
•    Try NHTSA's SaferRide mobile app that allows you to call a taxi or friend, and identify your location so you can be picked up.
•    If someone you know has been drinking, stop him or her from driving. Take their keys, take them home, or help them arrange a sober ride.
•    Always make sure EVERY occupant in the vehicle is buckled up. 

Gas prices:

AAA says more Americans than ever will be traveling for Independence Day this year.

Lucky for those hitting the road, gas prices are cheaper compared to 2016.

Also, airfare and car rental rates are predicted to be lower this year.

On the water:

Operation Dry Water is underway for the holiday weekend. That means Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agents will be out patrolling state waterways.

They'll be keeping an eye out for impaired boat operators.

"Alcohol use and operating a vessel don't mix. We want people to treat a boat the same way they would a vehicle when it comes to having a sober operator," said LDWF Lt. Col. Sammy Martin, the state's boating law administrator. "We want people to have fun on the water, but we also want them to come home safely."

Last year, there were 24 boating fatalities in Louisiana, and alcohol was a factor in three of those deaths.

A warning from LDWF: impaired boaters caught this weekend can expect penalties to be severe.

A DWI on the water carries the same penalties and fines as the same citation on the road. 

Copyright 2017 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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