Louisiana car crashes: The good and the bad

The good news? As recently as two years ago, a study indicated that the number of fatal Louisiana car accidents had decreased by almost 3 percent. This drop in deadly crashes means both you – the driver -- and your family -- as passengers and pedestrians – are safer.

The bad news? Lack of seatbelt use and drunk driving are still contributing factors in far too many motor vehicle accident deaths. While you do have some control over the proper use of seatbelts and your own careful, sober driving, you cannot foresee the actions or decisions of other drivers on the road. So exactly how much danger are you in? Perhaps more importantly, what should you do if you are involved in a serious car accident?

Encouraging car crash fast facts

Statistics released by the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission for some recent finalized data available indicated the following:

  • A total of 703 people died in motor vehicle crashes in Louisiana in a single year.
  • There were 651 fatal accidents in that same year, a decrease of almost 30 percent from just six years earlier.
  • Pedestrian deaths decreased by 24 from the previous year.

Even bicycle fatalities dropped by almost 50 percent that year! The roads of Louisiana seem to be, slowly but surely, becoming safer for everyone.

Areas that still need improvement

The number one issue that could improve the risk of fatalities in motor vehicle accidents appears to be proper use of seatbelts. According to the data, more than half of the occupants of the vehicles involved in accidents were not wearing their seatbelts correctly or at all.

Another big problem that could easily reduce deaths is that of driving while intoxicated. Louisiana is above the national average when it comes to fatal accidents involving alcohol, with 33 percent of fatal crashes involving a blood alcohol content above the legal limit for either the driver or the pedestrian.

What can you do?

The increase in motor vehicle safety is great news for you and your loved ones; a lower risk of experiencing a deadly car crash, whether you're behind the wheel or out walking with your kids, is wonderful, no matter how you look at it. On the other hand, there's still a lot of room for improvement. There are, of course, things you can do personally, like ensuring you always wear your seatbelt and insisting your passengers do the same.

You are already aware of the risks of drunk driving, but even buzzed driving is dangerous. Whenever possible, it's advisable to call a friend, use public transportation or take an Uber. Regardless of how careful you are, though, you unfortunately don't have much control over other cars on the road. If you or a loved one does end up suffering severe injuries in a serious car accident due to another driver's carelessness – drunk or not – there are legal resources available to help support you.

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Vincent J. DeSalvo, Attorney at Law
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Baton Rouge, LA 70809

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