Officials: People catching on to campaign against drunk driving

Officials: People catching on to campaign against drunk driving

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - With a decrease on how many people are participating in defensive driving classes, authorities believe the public is catching on to the phrase "Drive sober or get pulled over."

Law enforcement officers from around the state were given awards for the most DWI arrests last year. Some officers made more than 200 arrests.

Louisiana State Police Colonel Mike Edmonson says this should give the public a fair warning.

"We mean business," said Col. Edmonson. "They cause crashes and deaths, and when you start making those types of things a priority you see those numbers go down."

When someone is arrested for drunk driving in East Baton Rouge, they can ask to be enrolled into a DWI pre-trial intervention program. The program, which could span from six months to a year, was created 5 years ago by District Attorney Hillar Moore and his office.

It's aimed to prevent first time offenders from becoming second offenders. Moore said it's rather extensive and expensive, but it gets the message across. He adds that the program is not a cake walk.

"They have to be evaluated. They have to have an interlock device placed in their car for at least six months, sometimes up to a year," explained Moore. "They have to be drug tested and sometimes there are mental health evaluations that pop up from time to time. They have meetings with counselors."

Moore said 97% of people enrolled in the program don't come back, meaning they are getting the point.

"A lot of people say 'never again', and that it has really has helped them learn a lesson," said Moore. "That is what this all about and we are glad for these people because we don't want them to have a record. We want them to have good jobs and give them a second chance," said Moore.

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