How safe are roads in Louisiana?

For five straight years, Louisiana’s rate of fatalities in motor vehicle accidents has surpassed that of the national average.

Every licensed driver in Louisiana is supposed to know the rules and laws of the road. It would stand to reason that when behind the wheel of a vehicle, a person would act responsibly to protect his or her own life as well as the lives of others. Sadly, that does not always happen and too many innocent people end up suffering as a result. Just how much of a problem is this in Louisiana and around the nation? Records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration give some indication.

National highway fatalities on the rise

In 2016, the total number of people who died in accidents across the United States in the first three quarters of the year jumped. The eight-percent increase over the prior year was bad enough but in looking more closely, the reality of the situation gets worse. The 27,875 fatalities was the highest number of vehicular deaths in the U.S. in that timeframe since 2007.

The vehicular fatality trend in Louisiana

The NHTSA data shows that the total number of vehicular fatalities in Louisiana in 2015 was lower than in 2014. However, the 726 deaths in 2015 was still greater than the number of deaths in 2013, 2012 and 2011 when 703, 723 and 680 people were killed, respectively.

Louisiana's fatalities outnumber national average

In 2015, there were 10.92 deaths on American roads for every 100,000 people. In Louisiana for that same year, there were 15.54 deaths for every 100,000 people. For five consecutive years from 2011 to 2015, a similar gap was seen in which Louisiana experienced a significantly higher number of deaths per 100,000 people than the national average.

Reports highlight the tragic realities on Louisiana roads

Looking beyond the statistics, reports bring the reality of death on area roads to a more personal level. One example can be seen in the death of an officer last summer. As explained by NOLA.com, the 32-year-old mother of a young daughter was investigating a crash along a stretch of I-10 in New Orleans when a suspected drunk driver hit and killed her.

More recently, a man in Baton Rouge drove his pickup into oncoming traffic along a state highway and hit two other vehicles. Eight people in those vehicles were injured in the crash.

This January, a jury made a punitive damage award of $400,000 each to a mother and her two children in addition to an award of actual damages. The at-fault driver was a doctor who was driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.21 percent. The man was never charged with drunk driving.

Action is important after an accident

The data and stories above make it clear that Louisiana residents continue to face significant dangers on the road. In addition, the need for help once an accident happens is great. Talking to an attorney is always recommended as a way of learning how to seek proper compensation.