Motorists urged to be cautious

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 2, 2010

LAPLACE – As people prepare to head out for the Fourth of July weekend, State Police troopers in the River Parishes area are urging all motorists to keep safety as a top priority during holiday travel.

The Fourth of July weekend traditionally brings an increase in traffic on roadways, so drivers should also expect to see an increase in patrols on major highways in St. John, St. Charles and St. James parishes this weekend.

In addition to that increased visibility, troopers will also be enforcing a “no refusal” campaign to combat aggressive or impaired driving.

According to a release from State Police, individuals suspected of impaired driving who attempt to refuse to submit to a chemical test will be hit with a search warrant for a blood and/or urine sample. Impaired drivers will be arrested and booked into the parish jail with no “breaks” or “second chances.”

“The reason for implementing the ‘no refusal’ initiative is based on a nationwide trend of increased alcohol consumption during certain holiday weekends,” said Trooper Melissa Matey, spokeswoman for Troop B.

“Crashes involving serious injuries and fatalities historically are attributed to impaired driving during holiday weekends.”

Troop B Commander Capt. Carl Saizan said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has addressed the trend by educating the public about the dangers of impaired driving, increased patrols and checkpoint programs.

“During Memorial Day weekend this year, we partnered with area District Attorney’s Offices to implement the ‘no refusal’ campaign to great success,” Saizan said.

“We will continue to combat impaired drivers on our highways and if you are caught driving while impaired, you will be arrested.”

To report possible impaired drivers or road hazards, citizens should call *LSP (*577) from their cellular phones.