EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Louisiana State Police Troop A reports this Labor Day weekend, troopers more than doubled the number of DUI arrests they made last year. They also report the number of fatal crashes is on the decline.
Lots of people hit the road on Labor Day weekend for one last taste of summer. It's typically a busy time for law enforcement officers who put in some extra hours to help keep the highways safe. LSP Senior Trooper Bryan Lee says this past weekend, troopers arrested 29 people on DUI charges in the Baton Rouge area. Five of those were third time offenders. That's up from 13 during Labor Day weekend last year. The Baton Rouge Police Department reports 16 DUI arrests compared to 13 last year.
"They don't just pick places at random. They go back and they do research, look at where we are having numerous fatal crashes, where we have an influx of injury crashes that are caused by impaired drivers, and they are focusing on those areas," said Lee.
Lee says the creation of a DWI Taskforce this year, which consists of four officers, has helped get impaired drivers out from behind the wheel, but he also credits troopers who are doing regular shift work with helping combat the problem.
"Since we reallocated a lot of manpower to focus on hazardous driving and impaired driving, we've been able to reduce those fatal numbers by 50 percent," said Lee.
Lee is letting the numbers do the talking. According to LSP, Troop A investigated 38 fatal crashes in the first four months of this year. They worked 18 in the last four months. Lee says while it's a significant improvement, troopers will be working hard to drive down those numbers even further.
"We're doing this everyday now. We don't just wait for a holiday to come up. Our focus is going to be throughout the week, throughout the month, and that's something we plan on continuing," said Lee.
Lee says it's an effort being taken on by law enforcement agencies across the state. The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office also reports deputies made seven DUI arrests this Labor Day weekend. That's up from zero last year.