NEW ORLEANS -- The Fourth of July holiday is typically one of the deadliest times on the roadways. That's why Louisiana State Police is beefing up patrols, joining local police to get drunk drivers off the road.
For the families of the innocent victims of an accident involving a drunk driver, the pain is unending.
"It is so tragic for these families. They are completely innocent victims. I mean, we all drive places every day,” said Joyce Bracey of The Council on Alcohol & Drug Abuse. “There's nothing we can say. We're sorry. We're trying to fight the problem."
The Council on Alcohol & Drug Abuse works with people convicted of drinking and driving.
"We get these calls all the time, Bill, all day, every day. And people have to come here after they get a DWI, they have to take a class. It's very expensive, it is very costly of their time, and they have to listen to the victims and their families,” Bracey said.
"Any time we see a fatality crash on any of the interstate systems of highways, it's devastating, and to actually watch the family come out there, it's such a shocking moment for them in their lives,” said Trooper Melissa Matey, a spokeswoman for Louisiana State Police. “It's something that they're never going to forget."
So far this year, the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission reports over 320 people have died in accidents on state roadways. Nearly 100 died in crashes where the driver was drunk.
State Police say the Fourth of July holiday is an especially dangerous time for drinking and driving.
"We'll be doing saturation patrols, and we'll be specifically targeting impaired drivers, and seatbelt violators, and we're going to be looking for children that are not in their child restraints,” Matey said. “We're also going to be looking for hazardous moving violations such as speeding and improper lane usage."
You know what to do. It's the simplest thing in the world. Stop and think, and don't get behind the wheel if you've had something to drink. You could literally save a life, maybe even your own.
"You can't drink and drive, period. There's no safe amount, period,” Bracey said. “There's myths about drinking coffee, there's myths about how many drinks you can drink and still be sober in the car behind the wheel, and there's no safe amount."
"You can actually kill somebody,” Matey said. “You can injure somebody, or you can find yourself in jail."
Louisiana State Police say law enforcement agencies across the area are joining them in the Fourth of July holiday patrols to catch drunk drivers.