Authorities encourage residents to stay safe during New Year's celebrations
BATON ROUGE - People all over the world are preparing to ring in the new year.
As people get ready for a night of fun, local officials are warning residents to be safe during New Year's celebrations. While many enjoy sparkles and poppers, setting them off without professionals or a permit is dangerous and illegal in areas like East Baton Rouge Parish.
Each year, around 9,000 people are hurt by fireworks with the majority of those injuries being burns.
The Baton Rouge Police Department and East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office will be responding to fireworks calls throughout the evening. If caught, violators could face up to a $500 fine and jail time.
Fireworks aren't the only things residents should be concerned about tonight. With thousands of people celebrating, many will be drinking and the threat of drunk drivers on the road will increase. In Louisiana, there are 225 drunk driving deaths annually. Around 30 percent of all traffic fatalities are related to driving while intoxicated. Police suggest having a designated driver or using a ride-sharing app like Uber or Lyft to get around if you plan on drinking.
According to a release from the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, 3,789 people were hurt and 85 people died in crashes over the last five years on state highways. The statistics show that 462 of those injuries involved an impaired driver as did 69 of the fatalities. This information was collected by the Highway Safety Research Group at LSU.
Through a state grant program, LHSC is able to offer discounted Lyft rides through January 1. Residents can download the free Lyft app and use the code "RIDESMARTLA" for the discount.