Safety Commission honors three for DWI enforcement

Photo provided by Allison Hudson -- Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeff Wiley, left, accepts an award from John LeBlanc, executive director of Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, during a recent ceremony.
Photo provided by Allison Hudson -- Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeff Wiley, left, accepts an award from John LeBlanc, executive director of Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, during a recent ceremony.

The Louisiana Safety Commission recently honored Sheriff Jeff Wiley, Sgt. Teddy Gonzales and District Attorney Ricky Babin for their efforts in DWI enforcement, a commission news release says.

The three were among a group of law enforcement officers and agencies honored for their efforts to keep Louisiana highways safe from drunk drivers, a news release from Sheriff Jeff Wiley’s office says.

For the fifth year, Louisiana Highway Safety Commission honored officers and others for “their commitment to keeping impaired drivers off the roads,” a release from the commission said.

Speakers and presenters at the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission’s DWI awards ceremony included Col. Mike Edmonson, superintendent of Louisiana State Police; Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso, chairman of the Highway Safety Commission; Lt. Col. John LeBlanc, executive director of the commission; State Police Lt. Julie Lewis, and Linda Hull, coordinator of the awards.

In 2011, 41 percent of the 676 people killed in Louisiana crashes were involved in alcohol-related incidents. Authorities across Louisiana made almost 30,000 DWI arrests in 2011, the most recent year for which complete data is available, the release says.

“Alcohol and failure to wear seat belts are two of the main factors in fatal crashes,” said LeBlanc. “Our Commission partners with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, State Police and local law enforcement agencies to coordinate intensive programs designed to save lives by removing drunk drivers from our roads and getting all motorists to buckle up.”

Edmonson said it is important that officials take a “no-nonsense approach” to DWI enforcement.

“As impaired driving is an on-going, yet preventable, public safety problem that leads to thousands of fatalities and injuries each year across the state, I believe it is important that we recognize those who have made significant efforts to curb those numbers,” Edmonson said. “This cannot be achieved without the partnership among law enforcement, district attorneys and judges who continue to take a no-nonsense approach to sending a clear message to DWI offenders.”