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Louisiana bucks national trend of DWI-related deaths

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ST. TAMMANY PARISH, LA (WVUE) -

Once on the decline, drunk driving death cases in the United States are creeping back up, but Louisiana is bucking the trend. 

The number of drunk driving-related deaths in the U.S. jumped from 9,943 in 2014 to 10,320 in 2015 and bumped up again in 2016 with 10,497. 

But the latest numbers show Louisiana with a decrease of 250 drunk driving-related deaths in 2015 to 225 in 2016, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Despite the 10 percent decrease in the state, Louisiana State Police and Mothers Against Drunk Driving call alcohol-related crashes 100 percent preventable. 

"It's frustrating because we are going to continue to investigate situations like that," LSP Troop L Trooper Dustin Dwight said. 

On Christmas Eve, troopers investigated a deadly crash in Tangipahoa Parish where a suspected drunk driver killed a 19-year-old woman and her seven-month-old son.  

"There's nothing more difficult than the job that those troopers face that night in notifying the family and investigating the circumstances leading up to that crash involving an impaired driver," Dwight said. 

"We find that people feel that they can go out and drink and they can handle it. Stats show that they can't. Even with that one drink, we ask that you have that designated plan in place," MADD's Valerie Cox said. 

MADD partners with ride-sharing apps to try and decrease drunk driving incidents. 

"It's just a choice that we make and if you do, do not get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol. You can save a life," Cox said. 

December is historically the deadliest month of the year due to more drivers on the road and holiday celebrations where people drink and get behind the wheel. 

LSP conducted a checkpoint Wednesday in an effort to deter drunk driving. Troopers screened more than 660 vehicles, arrested two people for DUI and three others were arrested on drug charges.  

According to the U.S Department of Transportation, an average of 300 people died in alcohol related crashes between Christmas and New Year's for the past five years. 

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