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DUI arrests on increase in Louisiana

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According to the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, the chance of a drunk driver getting arrested in Louisiana has increased sharply over the past five years. In 2010 officers made 31,065 DWI arrests, an increase of almost 5,200 from the 25,870 DWI arrests made just five years earlier.

This does not necessarily mean that we have more people driving while intoxicated in Louisiana; more likely the increased arrests result from stronger enforcement by local police, sheriffs’ departments and State Police. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has made it a nationwide policy to concentrate efforts to reduce highway deaths on impaired drivers and those who refuse to wear their seat belts.

The LHSC also points out that in Louisiana, 42 percent of crash deaths in 2010 involved alcohol, and 59 percent of people killed in crashes were not buckled up. These statistics make it clear that alcohol and lack of seat belt use are major contributors to traffic deaths in Louisiana.

The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission annually awards grants to State Police and scores of local law enforcement agencies across the state which are used to pay officers overtime to conduct special patrols dedicated to enforcement of DWI and seat belt laws. The participating agencies concentrate their special patrols during periods of heavy travel and holidays during which impaired driving is more prevalent. Thus, be more cautious and vigilant at these times of year.

The number of highway deaths across the nation and in Louisiana has dropped significantly in recent years. In 2009, traffic deaths in Louisiana fell to 824, the lowest level since 1984. Preliminary data indicates that 716 people died in crashes in Louisiana in 2010–a drop of more than 100 from the previous year.

We often hear complaints that there are too many repeat DWI offenders in Louisiana. Repeat offenders are a problem, but the data indicates that 90 to 95 percent of impaired drivers involved in fatal crashes in Louisiana did not have a DWI arrest in the prior three years. However, be aware that the Louisiana Legislature has toughened laws for all drunk drivers, but especially for repeat offenders.

If you are arrested for a drinking related offense, please call our New Orleans or other area offices for immediate assistance on your charge.

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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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