Majority of holiday accidents attributed to distractions

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 8, 2002


LAPLACE – St. John the Baptist Parish had a relatively quiet holiday season in terms of traffic violations and fatalities this December.

According to St. John Parish Public Information officer, Capt. Mike Tregre, there were no fatalities in the month of December. Tregre said the St. John Sheriff’s office worked 116 automobile accidents and most of these were attributed to distractions, unattentive drivers and cellular telephone use. Tregre said St. John Parish has approximately 100 accidents per month, so December’s statistics are almost average to the rest of the year.

There were also 16 DWI arrests made this month in addition to 44 made by other agencies in the parish.

“We have DWI arrests almost every weekend,” said Tregre. “With Interstate 10, Interstate 55 and River Road, there are too many thoroughfares passing through St. John.”

“There is a lot of traffic that passes through this parish 24 hours a day,” Tregre added. “And the bars are open 24 hours a day.”

Despite the number of DWI’s, Tregre said the number this month has dropped compared to December 2000. There were 37 reported DWI arrests last year and various factors play into this decrease, Tregre said.

“The chances of getting caught are increasing,” said Tregre. “We have federal programs, more enforcement and people seem to realize all of the hardships that come along with the arrest.”

Tregre said there are many consequences that come along with a DWI such as being handcuffed, license suspension, court hearings, community services and financial penalties.

“It just isn’t worth it,” said Tregre. “Don’t take the risk.”

“The experience alone will make you sober,” Tregre added.

Public Information Officer, Trooper Omar Landrum of State Police Troop B said State Police troopers handled 49 DWI arrests, gave 65 speeding citations, 147 seatbelt citations and 10 citations for lack of a child restraint.

These were issued during the time period of Dec. 21 to Dec. 31 in the Troop B area, including St. Charles and St. John Parish.

He also said there were no fatalities during that time period around the holidays.

“We do so many statistics, it’s hard to compare these to last year,” said Landrum. “It’s hard to keep up.”

Tregre said this was an “unusually quiet” month for traffic accidents.