Rep. Graves spearheads effort to reduce drunk driving deaths

Garrett Graves - Uber and drunk driving

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Congressman Garret Graves is fed up with drunk drivers claiming innocent lives every year.

It’s football season, colleges are back in session, and in south Louisiana, a good time mean good food and drinks. Although many people already use ride sharing companies, on Wednesday, numerous organizations came together with one purpose.

“We wanted to have this discussion to think about how we can bring attention to the fact there are solutions out there that can prevent people from driving drunk,” said Graves.

“We know that one drink, it takes three to four hours per drink for your brain to clear the effects, so somebody can come in at one or two in the morning and get up at six and drive and still be intoxicated,” said Cathy at LSU.

“The deaths and injuries caused by this is 100 percent preventable. MADD’s goal is for us to be without a job,” said Valerie Cox with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

The Baton Rouge Police Department says in 2017, there were 17 fatalities and so far this year, 11 people have died in drunk driving incidents. For the age group between 21 and 30, the number skyrockets to 644 and slowly tapers off, but BRPD say they’re seeing more than just drinking and driving.

“The opioids, the marijuana, it’s probably drug use. It’s the alcohol mixed with the drug use. Maybe they’re taking some antidepressants. People are impaired on a lot of things, not just alcohol,” said Cpl. Jason Martin with BRPD. “Heroin, people are injecting themselves. They are still driving and they pass out and they crash.”

It’s why there’s a push for more students at universities to call UBER.

Victor Silvio’s 25-year-old son was killed by a drunk driver. He says that’s why he is now an UBER driver. He wants to keep other children safe. “It’s easy to just press a button and for me to come get you and I will bring you back home. It’s really quite simple," he said.

“We are operating all through the country. We have over 900,000 drivers in the U.S. alone,” said Dave Barmore with UBER.

“Making people aware of the role that ride sharing programs can play in helping to reduce drunk driving, helping to reduce accidents and injuries,” said Graves.

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