Hit-and-runs are up in Lafayette and DWI’s are down.
Those driving trends were shared at the Lafayette Kiwanis meeting Tuesday by City Judge Douglas Saloom.
“I’ve always said, Lafayette has the kindest people in the world except when they get in a car,” said Saloom.
The Judge believes driving around Lafayette would be better if people acted the same way behind the wheel as they do in person. Saloom says he notices an influx of drivers simply doing what they want. He’s seeing more hit-and-runs than ever and an unusually high spike in illegal u-turns. He also notices more drivers are not showing up to court to handle their tickets.
“It gets frustrating as a judge,” said Saloom. “The last thing we want to do is threaten jail for traffic offenses, but the truth is, jail is a great way to get people to follow the rules.”
Saloom acknowledges there is a shortage of officers which he believes is why there are less traffic citations coming through his courtroom. He says with the population size of Lafayette, the city would need to triple the number of officers on traffic patrol to make an impact.
“I tell people I was an “A” student in math,” Saloom said. “I know how to subtract the speed you should have been going from the speed you were going. That’s an easy way to figure out how much jail time you need.”
Saloom said he does see an improvement in the number of people caught drinking and driving. He says those arrests are down from 500 last year to roughly 400 this year. Saloom credits that to a number of factors including checkpoints and people using ride sharing apps.