Every year, thousands of victims die in what is a top cause of unintentional injury death in the United States: motor vehicle accidents. Sadly, the rates of car accident injuries and deaths are increasing in most states – not decreasing. In recent years, Louisiana set a new statewide record for its number of deaths in traffic accidents. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in Louisiana, contact the New Orleans car accident attorneys at Morris Bart for a free case consultation.
Louisiana Car Accidents by the Numbers
In the most recent year data is available, 2021, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development found that there was an all-time high in the number of traffic accident deaths. Louisiana saw 997 traffic accident fatalities in 914 deadly crashes along all public highways from January 1 through December 31, 2021. This exceeded Louisiana’s previous record of 993 highway fatalities, which was set in 2007.
The 993 recorded car accident deaths in Louisiana in 2021 was a significant increase from 828 fatalities in 2020. Governor John Bel Edwards stated that the average of three deaths per day in Louisiana in 2021 was “alarming” and “unacceptable,” and that it was disheartening to see the state’s highway fatality statistics trending in the wrong direction. He encouraged drivers in Louisiana to obey traffic laws, wear their seat belts and be patient with one another.
Preemptive traffic accident statistics for 2022 by the Center for Analytics and Research in Transportation Safety at LSU show a reduction in the number of car accident fatalities compared to 2021. Early estimates state that 906 people died in fatal motor vehicle collisions in Louisiana in 2022. This reflects a 23.7 percent decrease in the number of people killed on interstates in Louisiana and an 8.2 percent decrease in the number of deaths involving drunk drivers.
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How Does Louisiana Compare to the Rest of the United States?
Louisiana is not the only state that reported a record number of car accident deaths in 2021. The nation as a whole reached a 16-year high in terms of the number of traffic fatalities in 2021, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The total number of traffic collision deaths in the U.S. in 2021 was estimated to be 42,915.
National car accident fatalities increased by 10.5 percent from 2020 to 2021 – the largest annual percentage increase in the history of the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). According to the IIHS, Louisiana had a fatal crash rate of about 1.78 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2021. This put it above most other states; only South Carolina, New Mexico, Mississippi and Arkansas had higher vehicle crash death rates in 2021.
Top Causes of Louisiana Car Accidents
Statistics show that driver error was the number one cause of car accidents in Louisiana in 2021. Both injury and fatal accidents were caused primarily by driver negligence or the failure to use an appropriate amount of care behind the wheel. Fatal traffic accidents were frequently caused by drunk driving; the IIHS reported 159 estimated drivers who were killed with blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels at or above 0.08 percent in Louisiana in 2021. This equated to one-third (33 percent) of all drivers killed with known BAC results. Drunk drivers are seen most often during holiday periods in Louisiana.
Who Is Most at Risk?
Statistics published by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for 2021 state that the majority of victims killed in fatal traffic accidents in Louisiana were pickup and SUV occupants (325), followed by car occupants (304) and pedestrians (184). There was a higher number of deadly single-vehicle accidents than multi-vehicle accidents. These statistics emphasize the importance of paying attention to the road; a moment of inattention could be enough to drive a motor vehicle off the road and crash into a ditch or fixed object.
Where Do Most Collisions Occur?
According to the IIHS, 58 percent of deadly car accidents in Louisiana occurred in urban areas, while only 42 percent occurred on rural roads. Urban areas refer to city streets or metropolitan regions, such as downtown New Orleans. Fatal car accidents in these locations are more common than on rural roads in Louisiana.
The Center for Analytics at LSU reported that the highest number of traffic fatalities occurred in the Parish of East Baton Rouge in 2022 (96). However, the highest number of pedestrian deaths occurred in Orleans Parish (35). This parish also had the second-highest number of deaths all around in Louisiana (73).
The deadliest stretch of road in Louisiana, according to another analysis of 2,162 fatal collisions from 2018 to 2020, is the I-10 East from Exit 231A to 239B. This location saw 13 fatal car accidents within the study period. Other deadly Louisiana roads include Blues Highway, I-12 West, US-190, US-61, US-165 and Walker South Road.
How Can You Prevent Car Accidents in Louisiana?
Drivers are often capable of preventing automobile accidents in Louisiana. Obeying traffic laws, for example, can maintain intended traffic patterns and prevent dangerous interactions between road users. Avoiding common mistakes and crash risks, such as speeding and drunk driving, can drastically reduce an individual’s odds of getting into a serious car accident.
In Louisiana, drunk driving outnumbered distracted driving and speeding as the highest contributing factor to deadly car accidents in the state. You should never get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol; even a small amount can be enough to alter your ability to drive. If you plan on drinking, arrange for a safe and sober ride home.
Avoid distractions while driving, as well. This is especially important in areas of Louisiana that have high pedestrian traffic volume, such as Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Pay attention to the road at all times and avoid common driver distractions, such as looking at a cell phone or eating and drinking while driving. Obey traffic laws and reduce your speed to help avoid distracted driving related vehicle collisions
What to Do if You Are Injured in a Car Accident
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in Louisiana, contact a lawyer at Morris Bart to discuss your legal rights and options. You may be able to recover financial compensation from the other driver or party involved in the crash. Our lawyers can help you with an insurance claim or car accident lawsuit in Louisiana. We are experienced legal advocates who have recovered over $1 billion in case results for past clients. Call (800) 537-8185 today for more information.
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