MADD urges safe driving this holiday season

(WVUE) - This holiday season, Mothers Against Drunk Driving say more people are likely to drink and drive. That's because the number of alcohol-related fatalities on Louisiana's roadways continues to climb.

Three hundred thirty-five. That's how many people lost their lives in Louisiana last year in crashes involving alcohol.

Valerie Cox, Louisiana program director for Mothers Against Drunk Driving says, "Just have a designated plan in place and if everybody would do that, our fatalities would go down, injuries would go down and our arrest rates for DWI's would go down."

MADD says it's simple. If you want to go out and have drinks, use a ride-sharing company like Uber or Lyft, call a cab or have someone else drive you home.

"Stats have shown that during the holiday season, we have more alcohol or DWI arrests and we have more injuries during that time," Cox explained.

Police typically increase patrols around the holidays. As FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti explains, if you're pulled over while drinking, refusing a breathalyzer or blood test will automatically get you a trip to jail.

"In most parishes, they then have the right to take you to a location, strap you down and draw the blood out of your arm against your will because driving is not a right, it is a privilege and you've given up your right to privacy once you've gotten behind the wheel of a car," Raspanti said.

Raspanti credits years of hard work by lawmakers and MADD with tougher laws on the books when it comes to drinking and driving offenses.

So Raspanti offers this advice: "Do not drink and drive, especially if you want to unwrap your presents on Christmas morning instead of eating a bologna sandwich inside OPP on Christmas morning."

Nationally, more than 10,000 people died last year in alcohol related crashes. More than 200,000 were injured.

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