Mardi Gras season has begun! Excitement spreads through all of Louisiana as we gear up for Fat Tuesday, while hospitals, policemen and Lawyers alike gear up for an unwanted increase in business. Mardi Gras is known for the massive party scene and has been deemed the “deadliest holiday in Louisiana”, and reasonably so. In Accident Report Data from New Orleans Police Department in 2016-2018 an average of 1,160 accidents occur in the two weeks leading up to Mardi Gras day each year in New Orleans alone! While Lafayette offers a family-oriented Mardi Gras environment, we are no exception to the increase in accidents and drunk driving accidents this time of year.
Alcohol impairs your judgement and slows your reaction time which puts you and everyone around you at risk if you decide to get behind the wheel after a few drinks. Not only do you risk jail time, license suspension and fines for a DUI, you risk injury or even death to those in the car with you and innocent people on the road. In Louisiana, a first offense DUI is a misdemeanor with penalties of up to $1000 in fines, license suspension and potential jail time. Enhanced penalties will apply if a drunk driver causes property damage, injury or death. Vehicular Homicide is a felony and is punishable of up to 30 years in prison. Emily Latiolais, a personal injury attorney, urges you to think about your safety and the safety of others by planning ahead this Mardi Gras.
Some tips to stay safe this Mardi Gras:
- Plan ahead! If you plan on drinking at any point while out at Mardi Gras festivities, plan Designated Driver in advance. Do not depend on someone else being able to drive if it was not discussed in advance that person would be the sober friend who gets everyone home in one piece. Waiting until the last minute to find a “Designated Driver” will likely end with you finding a “Drunk Driver” who thinks they are sober enough to drive. Bringing a designated driver can make it easier to encourage others not to drive home either.
- Alternative Transportation. You can find a safe ride home in a matter of minutes with Uber or Lyft in just a few clicks.
- Walk. If you live close to a parade route or know someone who does, consider parking and walking. Not only does this eliminate the parking headache that Mardi Gras brings, it also ensures you have a place to stay if you decide to have a few drinks. If you go this route, be mindful of traffic signals and stay on the sidewalks!
- If you are not a drinker or if you were elected the “DD” for the night, be on the defense! Be aware that others inevitably will be making the wrong choice and get behind the wheel while under the influence. Pay extra close attention to your surroundings, eliminate distractions as best as possible and keep your distance from vehicles speeding, swerving or weaving in and out of traffic.
If you do find yourself in an accident this Mardi Gras and need legal help or advice, our door is open to you. If you have been injured in an accident, you can rely on us through the stressful and often frustrating process of getting the help you need. Emily Latiolais is skilled in personal injury law and will give your case the attention it deserves. All consultations for personal injury cases are free so don’t delay! Call Latiolais.