In February, Louisiana State Police announced via social media that their officers would be driving Dodge Chargers in multiple variations, including both marked and unmarked. These Chargers will join the Ford Crown Victoria and Chevy Tahoes already used by the department, although those vehicles carry clear markings to show they are official state police vehicles.
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Some of the Chargers may carry limited markings. The rest will remain unmarked in an effort to blend into traffic more smoothly, allowing officers the opportunity to address aggressive driving and distracted driving in a more effective manner.
Some Chargers will be fully marked, carrying the traditional logo for the Louisiana State Police and the overhead light bar. Others will use reflective silver lettering and a Louisiana boot badge, thereby avoiding the notice that is garnered by the traditional graphics. Finally, a Dodge charger will be used that has no exterior markings. Instead, the vehicle will carry low-profile blue lights that are mounted in the vehicle’s interior.
In 2014, 2015 and 2016, traffic fatalities averaged around 750 per year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Roughly 500 of those each year were passengers. Meanwhile, pedestrians in the state of Louisiana died as well: 105 in 2014, 106 in 2015 and 127 in 2016.
With these numbers, it is a logical decision to take more serious measures to catch distracted and/or impaired drivers as they are committing crimes and prevent injury or death to those around them. Alcohol contributed to around 250 of the deaths each year.
Texting and driving has become a serious problem since the popularity of the cell phone and written communication continues to increase. Social media use while driving also puts all travelers in danger and results in numerous deaths and injuries each year.
Unobtrusive vehicles like the Dodge Charger without the markings allow active police officers to identify the offending parties in traffic and keep up with them as long as necessary to get them to pull over and face charges as they should.
Speeding is related to roughly 200 fatalities each year, meaning that additional vehicles in the state police fleet can work to cut down on roughly one-third of the deaths that plague Louisiana residents annually. Making the roads safe for current and future drivers is an admirable goal that the state police continually strive to accomplish. These efforts can be furthered through the use of unmarked transportation.
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