Father's Day travelers urged to stay safe on the road Thousands expected on the road for June 16 celebrations

Whether it's a short drive across town or a longer trip across the state, thousands of families are expected to be on Louisiana roads to celebrate Father's Day on June 16. The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission reminds motorists to follow all traffic laws as they travel to visit loved ones on Father's Day.

"More than 80 percent of fatal crashes involve one of three factors: lack of seat belt use, aggressive driving or alcohol," said Lt. Col. John LeBlanc, executive director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission. "Some fatal crashes involve two or three of these factors. The number of highway deaths in Louisiana would experience a significant decline if we could eliminate even one of these factors."

Highway crashes claimed the lives of 676 people in Louisiana in 2011. Sixty-two percent of those who died were not wearing seat belts and 41 percent were involved in alcohol-related crashes. Fatal crashes occur more frequently on weekends, holidays and in evening hours.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines aggressive driving as occurring when "an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property." It includes behaviors such as speeding, tailgating, red light running, erratic lane changes and disobeying traffic signals. NHTSA calls the act of red light running one of the most dangerous forms of aggressive driving.

"Father's Day is a family oriented celebration, but few things are as devastating to a family as the death or serious injury of a loved one in a traffic crash," LeBlanc said. "Most serious crashes are preventable, more often than not caused by someone disobeying a traffic law."

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