NEW ORLEANS – During the 2020 Mardi Gras holiday, the NOPD will once again partner with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to get drunk drivers off the roads and help save lives.
The high-visibility national enforcement campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, runs From February 14-27, 2020. During this period, local law enforcement will show zero tolerance for drunk driving. Increased state and national messages about the dangers of driving impaired, coupled with enforcement and increased officers on the road, aim to drastically reduce drunk driving on our nation’s roadways.
Sadly, the statistics prove that there is a lot of work to do to put an end to drunk driving. According to NHTSA, 10,874 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in 2017. On average, 10,000 people were killed each year from 2013 to 2017 — one person was killed in drunk-driving crashes every 48 minutes in 2017. That’s the equivalent of 20 jumbo jets crashing each year, with no survivors. This is why the NOPD is working with NHTSA to remind drivers that drunk driving is not only illegal, it is a matter of life and death.
“Mardi Gras should be a time for friends and family to come together to celebrate in the revelry of Carnival season,” NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said. “We need commitment from our community members that they’ll keep the streets free of drunk drivers so that everyone can have a safe and enjoyable time. This is a campaign to get the message out that drunk driving is illegal and it takes lives. Help us put an end to this senseless behavior.”
The NOPD and NHTSA are reminding citizens of the many resources available to get them home safely.
“Drunk driving is not acceptable behavior,” Ferguson said. “It is essential to plan a sober ride home before you ever leave for the party. That’s why during the Mardi Gras season, we will make zero exceptions for drunk driving. There are just no excuses.”
The NOPD recommends these safe alternatives to drinking and driving:
- Remember that it is never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride sharing service to get home safely.
- Use sober ride programs to ensure that you do not get behind the wheel after drinking.
- If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact the NOPD immediately.
- Have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.