UPD receives grant to prevent impaired driving

The University Police Department has been awarded a grant to prevent impaired driving. The grant is to let officers work overtime in helping to prevent driving impaired or without a seat belt.

The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission also awarded the department the grant in order to conduct additional traffic safety enforcement. This gives the police permission to work overtime to help better the community and prevent fatal accidents. The overtime allows officers to work day and night for occupant protection and impaired driving enforcement. 

The UPD also decided to team up with the LHSC and the National Highway Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) “Click It or Ticket” and “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaigns. 

“Our students and employees travel the parish roads every day and commute from surrounding parishes,” said Lt. Patrick Gipson. “We want everyone to arrive at their destination safely. That’s why we conduct highway safety enforcement.”

The amount of alcohol related fatalities has decreased since the year of 2009, and the police are using this grant to help that number keep decreasing. The amount of alcohol crashes related was about 40 percent this year. That percentage has also decreased since 2009. 

The number of fatalities that have happened due to not wearing a seat belt has increased just over the past two years. Also, the amount of passengers ages six and older not wearing a seat belt has increased since last year. 

“Enforcement is only part of the effort,” said Harold Todd, director of University Police. “We will be collaborating with local partners to educate our students about safe driving habits.” 

The UPD is also parternirng with local organizations, including Reshaping Attitudes for Community Change (TRACC), Peer Educators Educating Peers (PEEPS), the Hammond City Police Department, Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office and Louisiana State Police. 

“Our efforts are part of a community-wide effort to save lives,” said Todd. “If everyone works together and encourages their friends to drive safely, we can make our parishes’ roadways some of the safest in Louisiana.” 

These measures are being taken to protect the lives of the residents in Hammond because they are 14th out of all parishes in the state for alcohol-related fatal and injury crashes. It is first in the state for unrestrained fatalities. 

The parish is hoping this money will help take drunk drivers off the road and keep people safe. 

“The primary goal of the grant is to reduce fatal and injury crashes on Louisiana roadways,” said Gipson. “The grant provides funding for officers to work overtime conducting day and night occupant protection and impaired driving enforcement.” 

For more statistics and information on “Click It or Ticket It” or “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaigns, visit lahighwaysafety.org.