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Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Campaign Begins

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The State of Louisiana has begun a new campaign to curb DWI and DUI. The program is called “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” and will operate during the upcoming Holiday Season.

Here is an excerpt of the press release announcing the program:

“Scores of Louisiana law enforcement agencies are participating in the national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign designed to save lives by keeping impaired drivers off the roads. The Dec. 16, 2011, to Jan. 2, 2012, campaign features DWI check points and saturation patrols focused on apprehending drunk drivers.

The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission has provided special enforcement grants to dozens of Louisiana police departments and sheriffs’ offices. The agencies are using the grant funds to pay officers to work thousands of overtime hours dedicated to enforcing the state’s DWI laws. The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign is coordinated nationwide by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which provides funds to the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission. The campaign also includes broadcast advertisements that warn motorists of the consequences and risks involved in driving while intoxicated.

“Since 2006, an average of 10 people per year have been killed in crashes over the Christmas holiday in Louisiana,” said Lt. Col. John LeBlanc, executive director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission. “Many of those deaths involved alcohol use, which tends to increase during holiday periods such as Christmas. The goal of Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over is to save lives by raising awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving and arresting those who disobey DWI laws.”

Six of the seven highway fatalities over the Christmas holiday in Louisiana last year involved alcohol. For all of 2010, 43 percent of the crash deaths in the state involved alcohol. Over the past three years, Louisiana has experienced a significant decline in traffic deaths and injuries. Safety officials attribute the decline to a variety of factors, which include stronger laws and enforcement.

“It’s clear that stepped up enforcement coupled with high-publicity campaigns can result in reduced numbers of crash deaths and injuries,” LeBlanc said. “Eighteen people were killed in Christmas holiday crashes in Louisiana in 2007, more than double the 2010 rate. We’re making definite progress, but we must keep reminding motorists of the consequences of violating traffic safety laws.”

Louisiana laws provide significant penalties for impaired drivers, especially repeat offenders. One recent law imposes 15-day jail sentences on people caught driving while their licenses are suspended for a previous DWI violation. Another measure suspends for one-year licenses of suspects who refuse to take a blood alcohol concentration test. A 2008 law requires DWI offenders whose licenses are suspended to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles for one year, if they are granted a “hardship license.” Ignition interlocks prevent people who have alcohol in their system from starting their vehicle. A first-offense DWI arrest can cost a driver more than $1,000 in fines, court costs, attorneys’ fees and increased insurance premiums.

If you are arrested for DWI or DUI or any other alcohol related offense, call Harmon, Smith and Vourvoulias at 504.680.4303 or 504.680.4319 or any of the numbers listed below for immediate assistance.

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About George Vourvoulias

George is a founding member and managing member of Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias L.L.C., a New Orleans law firm. George concentrates his practice in maritime personal injury, construction litigation, personal injury, workers' compensation, medical malpractice, and DUI defense. George Vourvoulias's Google+ Profile

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