|Thursday, June 28, 2012
|Sheriff Webre Stresses Safety During Independence Day Holiday - by Dty. Brennan Matherne, PIO
|Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre is stressing the importance of safety for the upcoming Independence Day holiday. “We encourage everyone to celebrate this Fourth of July holiday,” said Sheriff Webre. “We simply ask that you do it in a way that does not endanger yourself and others around you.” The Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office will be taking several measures to ensure the safety of its citizens during the holiday period.
A DWI checkpoint has been scheduled to begin Wednesday night, July 4 in the northern part of Lafourche Parish. Deputies will be looking for drivers who are possibly impaired and checking for other traffic safety issues including proper seat belt usage. Additionally, LPSO will have extra deputies on patrol (through grant-funded overtime) who will be on the lookout for impaired drivers. Remember that Lafourche Parish is a “no refusal” parish, meaning if a suspected drunk driver refuses a breathalyzer test, deputies will seek a search warrant to have that person’s blood tested.
“These checkpoints are just one of the ways through which we are putting traffic safety at the forefront in order to protect our citizens on our local highways,” said Sheriff Webre. “We want everyone to have a fun, safe holiday, and therefore, our deputies will be out in force throughout this holiday period to ensure we are keeping impaired drivers off the streets.”
Sheriff Webre added, “The laws regarding drinking and driving apply not only to motor vehicles, but to watercraft as well.” In fact, alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
Citizens enjoying our sportsman’s paradise on the waters around Lafourche Parish should also take the proper precautionary measures. LPSO Water Patrol deputies will not only be responding to calls for help, they will also be actively patrolling and performing safety checks to make sure their next call isn’t a response to tragedy. “Life jackets, or personal floatation devices, are one of the most important items to have on the water where the unexpected can happen quickly” said Sheriff Webre. “Boaters should be prepared by ensuring that there are personal floatation devices for each person on board.”
In 2011, 84 percent of those that drowned in fatal boating accidents were not wearing a personal floatation device. Sheriff Webre reminds the boating public of laws in place aimed at keeping them safe:
• Every motorboat or vessel shall carry at least one a personal floatation device for each person on board.
• Every person 16 years of age or younger aboard any vessel up to 26 feet long must wear a USCG approved a personal floatation device while the boat is in motion.
• Any person onboard a motorboat propelled with a hand tiller outboard motor is required to wear a USCG approved a personal floatation device while the boat is in motion.
• Any person on a personal watercraft, such as a jet ski, must wear a USCG approved PFD at all times on the craft. Any person engaged in water sports, including water skiing and tubing, must wear a USCG approved a personal floatation device.
• Every motorboat or vessel over 16 feet in length shall have a whistle, horn, or other sound producing device on board.
• Every motorboat or vessel shall carry the appropriate lighting.
• Every motorboat must have the appropriate number of working fire extinguishers on board.
Boaters should inspect all equipment, including but not limited to personal floatation devices, fire extinguishers, and running lights, to ensure functionality and check expiration dates.
As Lafourche Parish residents prepare to celebrate our nation’s birthday, Sheriff Craig Webre wants to remind parents about some common sense tips about fireworks. According to Parish Ordinance 15:26, fireworks are currently allowed to be sold and discharged through Friday, July 5 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and on July 3 and 4, they are allowed from 9 a.m. until midnight.
All fireworks vendors must be permitted with the parish. LPSO Patrol deputies are traveling throughout the parish to ensure all vendors are properly licensed. Any vendor found not to have a valid parish license will have their operations shut down until they obtain proper licensing.
It is illegal for anyone under the age of 10, or anyone who is intoxicated or impaired, to purchase fireworks. It is also illegal to explode or ignite fireworks within one thousand feet of any church, hospital, public school or within 75 feet of where fireworks are stored, sold or offered for sale. Anyone who ignites or discharges fireworks from within or throws fireworks from or into a motor vehicle could be charged.
For more information about boating safety and regulations, Sheriff Webre encourages any boater to call Sgt. Jeff Prevost with the LPSO Water Patrol at (985) 632-5844. For state regulations on boating and fishing, residents can also log on to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries website at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/.