BATON ROUGE - As citizens and visitors across the state make plans to celebrate the New Year’s holiday, Troopers stress the importance of responsible behavior and safe practices with the ultimate goal of zero fatal crashes. Help us make a safe start to 2014.
According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over the past decade nearly 41 percent of motor vehicle deaths that occur around the New Year’s holiday were alcohol related. With the traditional increase in holiday related activities and subsequent traffic on area roadways, it is everyone’s responsibility to make safety a priority.

Troopers urge holiday revelers to have a plan in place prior to enjoying New Year’s Eve celebrations. By following the safety guidelines below, motorists can greatly reduce their chances of being involved in a serious injury or fatality crash.

Always plan for a designated driver

· Thousands are seriously injured or killed due to impaired driving each year. Never get behind the wheel if you are impaired or get in a vehicle with a driver who is impaired.

· Alcohol has many effects on the body. Alcohol can impair visual ability, alter sense of time and space, impair fine motor skills needed to operate a motor vehicle, and decrease reaction times. Just ONE drink may cause these effects.

· A designated driver is one who has had NOTHING alcoholic to drink.

· Call a taxi or a trusted person for a ride or just stay put.

Always buckle-up or wear a D.O.T. approved helmet

· Louisiana law requires that every person in a motor vehicle, regardless of seating position, always remain buckled up day and night. Statistics show that the chances of surviving a violent crash rise significantly when properly restrained. Motorcyclists must wear a proper US D.O.T. helmet when operating a motorcycle on Louisiana roadways. Although not all crashes are survivable, properly utilizing safety equipment like approved motorcycle helmets and seat belts greatly decrease your risk of serious injury or death.

Do not drive while distracted

· Inattentive and distracted drivers account for a large number of serious crashes across the state every year. You can effectively reduce the chances of being involved in a crash by ensuring that while behind the wheel of a vehicle you remain focused solely on the task of driving.

Pedestrians or Bicyclists

· If you travel on foot or bicycle, wear bright clothing, be cognizant of traffic, and travel safe.

“Troopers across the state will be working alongside our local partners to provide a safe environment for travelers throughout the New Year’s holiday,” said Colonel Mike Edmonson, State Police Superintendent. “While Troopers will remain vigilant, responsible decisions and precautionary measures by the public will help ensure an enjoyable New Year’s holiday for everyone.”

Motorists are urged to contact the Louisiana State Police by dialing *LSP or (*577) on your cell phone to report impaired drivers and dangerous roadway conditions. Citizens and visitors are also urged to enroll in Nixle Alerts for real time updates on roadway closures, crash locations, and pertinent safety information for their region. CLICK HERE to enroll, complete the required information and select Louisiana State Police as your agency.

For more information regarding specific enforcement activities and safety campaigns in your area, please contact your local LSP Public Information Officer or visit the Louisiana State Police Facebook page.

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