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Louisiana alcohol-related car accident fatalities down in 2011

Louisiana is once again considering creating the Integrated Criminal Justice Information System to make criminal histories, mug shots, fingerprints and arrest warrants accessible to all agencies. The project includes the creation of a statewide DWI tracking system that will serve as a tool to reduce the number of car accidents involving drunk drivers.

According to the executive director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, the number of fatal car wrecks involving alcohol fell from 439 in 2007 to 272 in 2011 with the number of fatalities decreasing from 487 to 291 over the same period. Even though the numbers are decreasing, Louisiana still remains above the national average when it comes to alcohol-related deaths.

The project to reduce deaths caused by drunk drivers was proposed and rejected in 2004. The project would have made criminal information available on laptops in squad cars and the DWI system would ensure repeat offenders were not charged as first-time DWI offenders. Armed with more accurate information, law enforcement officials could more effectively handle accident cases involving intoxication.

According to the Louisiana chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving and prosecutors, a computer system would make it easier to verify previous convictions and sentences. However, detractors claim repeat offenses are caused by social acceptability of driving after drinking and uneven enforcement of sentencing laws.

OF course, every driver bears certain responsibilities when they take to the road, but, in reality, no one should even have to worry about drink drivers. Drivers must make the decision to prevent themselves from driving if they believe they are over the limit. The unfortunate reality is that drivers will continue to make bad decisions and others will pay the price.

A car accident could result in the levying of a personal injury or wrongful death claim against a negligent or distracted driver and the recovery of compensation to cover pain and suffering, medical expenses or funeral expenses.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, "Idea of creating DWI tracking system revived," July 22, 2012

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