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Louisiana Highway Safety Commission Funds DWI BAT Mobiles

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The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission announced through a recent press release the purchase of new BAT Mobiles to combat drunk driving and increase arrest. Here is the body of the release timed for the Labor Day Weekend.

“With six new Breath Alcohol Test (BAT) buses and hundreds of hours of overtime pay available to law enforcement agencies across the state, Louisiana highway safety officials are working to keep traffic deaths and injuries to a minimum this Labor Day holiday.

Two people were killed in crashes over the Labor Day holiday in 2010, the lowest number for that holiday period in Louisiana in many years. In 2009, 11 people were killed in Louisiana crashes over the holiday, four were killed in 2008 and 20 were killed in 2007. Louisiana is participating in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s new “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign designed to reduce deaths and injuries caused by impaired drivers.

Last year the state’s highway safety efforts included the largest-ever “no refusal” crackdown, a program that greatly reduces the number of DWI suspects who refuse to take a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test. This year law enforcement agencies across Louisiana will have available to them BAT buses, which contain communications, testing and other equipment that shorten what are normally lengthy procedures for processing DWI suspects.

The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission awarded grants to six law enforcement agencies across the state to purchase the $350,000 BAT buses. The buses contain breath-testing stations that can run up to 12 tests per hour, interior and exterior cameras, computers to look up suspects’ arrest records, facilities to collect and store blood evidence, and can accommodate nine or more officers. Similar units have reduced by three-fourths the time it takes to process a DWI suspect. While each of the six units is headquartered with a specific agency, they are available to law enforcement departments in surrounding cities and parishes.

The last unit to be delivered was presented to officials of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office in August. Other units are headquartered with Baton Rouge Police, Lafayette Police, Monroe Police, Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office and Kenner Police.

“Technology such as the BAT buses are playing an important role in the battle to save lives by helping officers remove impaired drivers from our streets and highways,” said Lt. Col. John LeBlanc, executive director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission. “The less time an arresting officer has to spend processing a suspect, the sooner he or she can get back on the road to apprehend other violators.”

Louisiana State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson said his troopers will be highly active throughout the holiday enforcement effort.

“Law enforcement visibility will highlight our enforcement efforts for the upcoming Labor Day weekend, especially during the high-risk evening hours when impaired drivers are most likely to be on the road,” Edmonson said. “This year’s slogan sums it up – Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. Through proactive enforcement, education and partnerships, we are committed to ensuring a safe holiday weekend for the citizens of Louisiana.”

In addition to the BAT buses, the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission has provided grants to 87 law enforcement agencies across the state to conduct overtime patrols and checkpoints dedicated to DWI and other violations. The participating agencies will conduct hundreds of hours of overtime patrols during the Labor Day holiday, which begins on Friday, Sept. 2. The Commission and NHTSA are also sponsoring extensive broadcast announcements over the holiday.”

As you can see from the release many of these BAT mobiles are deployed in south Louisiana and in Jefferson Parish in particular. They have been used with some increasing regularity in New Orleans as well. The BAT mobiles present even more reason for you to drive safely and responsibly.

Remember, if yu are arrested for DWI or other alcohol related offense, call our office for immediate assistance and representationon.

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About Gary Smith

Gary is a founding member of Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias L.L.C. Gary represents clients whose cases involve maritime and admiralty law and litigation. In addition to practicing law, Gary serves as a State Senator in the Louisiana Senate.Gary Smith's Google+ Profile

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