BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - "Don't drink and drive" is a simple request heard over and over again from law enforcement and advocates. Yet, Louisiana State Police made 17 DWI arrests from Friday to Sunday.
"Half of those DWIs were repeat offenders, half of those DWIs came from motor vehicle crashes," explained TFC Bryan Lee.
Baton Rouge Police also made 15 DWI arrests over the weekend, according to Sgt. Don Coppola, and handled two deadly wrecks. One wreck involved a suspected drunk driver who allegedly hit and killed a pedestrian directing traffic around a separate wreck.
While DWI arrests over the weekend are not uncommon, the unusually high number ahead of the Memorial Day weekend is concerning for Valerie Cox, victim's advocate and program manager for Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
"This is not even the weekend yet for the first official summer holiday and we had that many fatalities," Cox said. "So we're asking people to really think before you get out. This is going to be a long holiday weekend."
AAA anticipates that 350,000 motorists will be on the road during the holiday weekend. In addition to looking out for drunk drivers, police departments nationwide launched the "Click It or Ticket" campaign targeting motorists not wearing seat belts.
Over the 2015 Memorial Day holiday weekend, state officials reported more than 360 crashes, including eight fatalities. Of those, alcohol was reportedly involved in 53.
Lee and Cox said it's important to make a plan before leaving the house including having a safe ride home like a taxi or a designated driver.
"That designated driver does not mean the one of you that's had the least amount to drink. It's the one that has not been drinking at all," Lee said. "The biggest thing to remember is not to get behind the wheel if you drink."