Local law enforcement agencies said they will be out in full force this Labor Day weekend to crack down on impaired drivers.
Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre, Thibodaux Police Chief Bryan Zeringue, Houma Police Chief Dana Coleman and State Police Troop C are participating in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, which runs through Monday.
Additional deputies have also been assigned to saturated patrol efforts to target impaired drivers and help keep motorists safe throughout the campaign, Lafourche Parish sheriff’s Lt. Brennan Matherne said.
“We are going to have saturated patrols through the holiday weekend with deputies targeting impaired drivers,” Matherne said.
Drivers who are suspected of DWI who refuse to submit to a breath test could lose their license for one year on a first offense, Zeringue said. That penalty increases up to two years on a second offense.
Anyone convicted of a DWI while their driver’s license is suspended because of a previous DWI will face automatic prison time, Zeringue said.
Louisiana is a no-refusal state, meaning an officer can request a search warrant to have a driver’s blood tested if he or she appears intoxicated but refuses a breath test.
The Thibodaux Police Department offered several safety tips to keep in mind before getting behind the wheel this week:
• Never drive if you have had any alcohol.
• Even legal medication can render you unfit to safely drive. A few of these medications are tranquilizers, narcotic pain pills, sleep medicines, some antidepressants, cough medicines, antihistamines and decongestants.
• Plan a safe way to get home before the party starts.
• If you plan to walk home, have a sober friend find a cab. Even walking impaired is not safe.
• Report impaired drivers to law enforcement.
Coleman urged motorists to exercise caution this weekend.
"As we celebrate the Labor Day weekend, be aware of your surroundings while occupying the road/highways by being conscious of distracted drivers, as well as those who may be impaired," the police chief said. "Remember, if you had too much to don't drink and drive! Your life and the lives of others who share the road are valued."
--Staff Writer Dan Copp can be reached at 448-7639 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @DanVCopp.