2012] COMMENT 255
although not having the daily contact with the problem that
the state courts have, has repeatedly lamented the tragedy.15
Statistics are even more alarming in Louisiana. According to
the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission (LHSC), impaired-
driving crashes led to approximately 400 deaths and 6,000 injuries
in 2009.16 From 2010 to 2012, 42 to 43% of fatal crashes were
alcohol-related, making alcohol a leading cause of traffic deaths in
Louisiana.17 Adding insult to injury, a 2007 survey ranked
Louisiana as having the fourth highest DWI refusal rate in the
country at 39%.18 This trend of stubbornly high refusal rates
continued in 2008, when nearly one-third of those arrested for
drinking and driving (about 8,000 out of 24,736 DWI arrestees)
refused to submit to a BAT.19 As refusal rates continue to increase,
the effectiveness of implied consent laws—and in turn, the State’s
ability to deter DWI—will continue to decrease.20
To counteract the rise of BAT refusal rates, the LHSC, parish
law enforcement agencies, and local judges joined forces to
implement no-refusal programs.21 No refusal refers to a law
enforcement policy authorizing police officers to obtain search
warrants after suspected DWI offenders decline a BAT.22
15. South Dakota v. Neville, 459 U.S. 553, 558 (1983).
16. Raymond Legendre, No Refusal Weekend for Those Suspected of DWI
Has Critics, Supporters, WWLTV.COM (Sept. 4, 2010, 5:55 PM), http://www.
17 . LSU Highway Sa fety Research Grp., 2010 Alcohol-Related Crashes by
Severity, http://datareports.lsu.edu/Reports/TrafficReports/2010/A/A5.asp (last
visited Oct. 2, 2012); 2011 Alcohol-Related Crashes by Severity, http://
2 (last visited Oct. 2, 2012); 2012 Alcohol-Related Crashes by Severity,
=2012 (last visited Oct. 2, 2012).
18. Amy Berning e t al., Breath Test Refusals, NAT’L HIGHWAY TRAFFIC
SAFETY ADMIN., 2 (Nov. 2007), available at http://www.nhtsa.gov/DOT/NHTS A/
19. LeBlanc, supra note 14.
20. See id. Motorists who refuse blood-alcohol content (BAC) tests are
often the most inclined to drive under the influence of alcohol. They understand
that penalties for refusal are less severe than the penalties for DWI conviction.
They also understand the high likelihood of DWI conviction when a chemical
test shows positive signs of alcohol. Thus, they consciously choose to refuse the
test and face license suspension to avoid the alternatively harsher consequences
of DWI conviction. See id.
21. See id.
22. Id. Upon refusal, an officer will noti fy a judge, who is waiting on
standby. Id. If the officer demonstrates sufficient probable cause of the suspect’s
intoxication, then the judge will issue a warrant authorizing the withdrawal of
the suspect’s blood. Id. See also Shannon, supra note 14.