Local officials urge safety as holiday travel picks up

Local News

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — From last-minute Christmas shopping to holiday parties, more people are going to be on the roadways between now and New Year’s.

“Over the Thanksgiving holiday, we had 28 crashes and 34 deaths. That was the most that we’ve had in seven years,” said Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Communication Director Rodney Mallett.

Mallett said Christmas is one of the busiest travel times of the year.

“As you can see, the traffic is starting to build up right now in town. We expect that to go like that for the next couple of days at least. And then when people return, we’ll see additional traffic,” he explained.

With more people on the highway, road safety is more important than ever.

“Here we are this holiday season. We have people from out of town coming in to see family just passing through, and they’re not used to driving around Baton Rouge roads. So let’s be patient with everyone as we drive,” Mallett explained.

“Give yourself the extra time on the roadways. Expect traffic to be heavier than normal and put those mobile devices down. Pay attention on the roadway,” said Baton Rouge Police Department Public Information Officer Don Coppola.

Coppola said to have a plan if you go out drinking.

“The last thing we want to do is to knock on a relative’s door and pass on that bad news. So again, have a plan either stay where you are, a designated driver or rideshare program,” he explained.

Mallett encourages people to obey traffic laws and remember to always drive defensively.

“These decisions that you have to make when you’re driving sometimes are split decisions, and if you hesitate, you can lose. And that’s why you need to be on top of your game when you’re driving,” he explained.

You can go to 511LA.org to help plan your routes, see where congestion is and stay ahead of the traffic this holiday season.

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