(KLFY) – The time between Christmas and the New Year’s holiday is the most dangerous time on the roadway, according to the Acadiana Planning Commission (APC).

APC officials said that for the last two years, they’ve seen significant spikes in fatal and serious injury crashes. Since the pandemic, the number of fatal crashes in Acadiana has been rising. Usually, there are fewer than 100 fatal crashes a year, but recently, there’s been more.

With the holiday season being one of the most dangerous times on the road, officials want to remind you how you can keep yourself and your family safe.

“No one should lose their lives in a fatal or serious injury crash. It does not have to happen. All of these things are 100% preventable,” Ashley Moran, a planner for Acadiana Planning Commission, said.

Moran said that the week between Christmas and the New Year can be especially dangerous on the roads for many reasons. People are typically traveling in areas they’re not familiar with and oftentimes at night when it’s dark. There’s also likely to be more people who are impaired on the roadways.

“We are seeing not just alcohol impairment, but significantly high levels of illegal drug use like marijuana and then also prescription drug use. So we have other forms of impairment besides just the traditional alcohol,” Moran said.

She told News 10 that while alcohol is a factor in many fatal crashes, 26% of people involved in fatal or serious injury crashes were under the influence of marijuana. While drugs and alcohol are often causes for crashes, Moran said that distracted driving and speeding are also major factors.

“If you see someone driving impaired, driving radically on the roadway driving, and unfortunately we’ve had some wrong-way drivers recently cause fatal crashes, report it ASAP and possibly get off the road, especially if you see someone driving the wrong way down the road. Get off the road. Let them go by. Call law enforcement asap. Call 911,” she said.

While you can do your part to help keep the roads safe this holiday season, Moran told News 10 that there will also be extra waves of law enforcement officers on patrol on the lookout for impaired drivers.

“Again, other people who you know could cross the center line of the roadway and kill someone due to that impairment, and we don’t want anyone else who’s just trying to get home safely, is doing everything right, to die. So we’re just asking people to make the best choices for them and then the other members of their community,” Moran said.

There will also be more law enforcement officers on the basin bridge this holiday weekend, and fines are doubled.