It isn't uncommon for Louisiana residents and others to spend Halloween eating and drinking to excess. The good news is that there are healthier ways to spend the holiday. One tip is to refrain from drinking alcohol as there are more car accidents on Halloween than on New Year's Eve. For those who do choose to drink, it may be a good idea to get a designated driver or find another ride home.
Fatal drunk driving accidents are becoming an increasingly serious problem in Louisiana according to government figures. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data reveals that about 30 percent of the people who die each year on the state's roads lose their lives in crashes involving an intoxicated driver, and nearly 70 percent of these accidents are caused by motorists with blood alcohol concentrations almost double the legal driving limit.
For people on the roads in Louisiana, coming into contact with a drunk driver can lead to devastating consequences. Drunk driving accidents can cause severe personal injuries or even death. In fact, fatalities caused by drunk driving account for one-third of all traffic deaths in the United States. The effect of a crash can be accentuated by the type of injury that an accident victim suffers because serious injuries, like brain trauma, severe bleeding or damage to internal organs, can cause fatalities or long-term disabilities.
Louisiana State Police troopers were on the scene of a fatal car accident in Pointe Coupee Parish on Nov. 12. The two-car accident took place just before 3 p.m. along southbound LA 1 near the intersection of LA 420. Two men, ages 21 and 34, were killed as a result of the accident, and another man who was involved in the accident was uninjured.
Louisiana law requires ignition interlock devices to be installed for first-time DUI offenders whose BAC was .20 or higher. Mothers Against Drunk Driving has been trying to get every state to pass laws requiring these devices for all first-time offenders. MADD says that the results in states that have done so are proof that the tougher legislation works.
On Dec. 25, a 26-year-old Louisiana man was reported to have struck and killed a pedestrian in Algiers. The collision happened at around 10 p.m.
Authorities believe alcohol played a role in a hit-and-run accident that killed one person in Erwinville on Nov. 20. The crash occurred when a white GMC Sierra driven by a 27-year-old man from Lakeland ran a stop sign while heading west on La. 620 at 5 a.m. A red Ford F150 pickup truck collided with the Sierra at the corner of La. 983.
Louisiana drivers may be interested to find that the popularity of the ride-sharing service Uber has led to a decrease in deaths caused by DUIs. According to researchers at Temple University, the use of Uber X, the company's most basic service, reduced the number of drunk driving deaths by 3.6 to 5.6 percent over the period studied.
There may be little that others can do to stop a Louisiana motorist who decides to drive after consuming alcohol. Once on the road, it is possible that the impaired driver will hit a pedestrian or drift into oncoming traffic. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently showcased technology that could prevent a car from starting if alcohol is detected on the driver's breath.
In an average year, 10,000 people die in crashes involving a drunk driver. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and automakers have come together to create a system that instantly measures the driver's blood alcohol content. If the driver has a BAC of higher than .08 percent, which is the legal limit in Louisiana and the rest of the country, the car will not start.