Bayou Classic fans urged to travel safely
BATON ROUGE - Bayou Classic fans are reminded to drive safely when heading to and from Bayou Classic Events in New Orleans over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
"More people died on Louisiana roads over the five-day Thanksgiving break last year than during any other holiday," says Lt. Col. John LeBlanc, executive director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission.
Safety officials are reminding thousands of fans driving to New Orleans for the 40th Annual Bayou Classic football game and the Battle of the Bands that Thanksgiving is traditionally one of the more risky periods for traveling on the state's roads.
The Bayou Classic game between Southern University and Grambling State University, both historically black universities, is played on the Saturday following Thanksgiving, and the Battle of the Bands takes place on Friday.
Last year, 13 people died and 666 were injured in Louisiana crashes over the five-day Thanksgiving holiday. LeBlanc points out that almost 80 percent of driver fatalities last year in Louisiana involved either alcohol, lack of seat-belt use or aggressive driving.
Last year, more than half of the people killed in Louisiana crashes were not wearing their seat belts. A survey taken this year found that seat belt use reached a record high in Louisiana, with 82.5 percent of drivers and front-seat passengers buckling up.
"The Bayou Classic is a popular event that brings together friends and families from across Louisiana and many other states," LeBlanc said. "We want everybody to make this an enjoyable and safe event."
The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission offers the following trips for safe travel:
- Arrange for a designated driver, call a cab or use other public transportation if you have been drinking alcohol.
- Buckle your seat belts. Louisiana law requires drivers and front and rear-seat passengers to wear their seat belts when a vehicle is in motion.
- Avoid driver distractions. State law prohibits drivers from texting and using social media.
- Drive within designated speed limits.