Despite the new laws in place to encourage seat belt usage nationwide, more people died in traffic crashes in Louisiana in 2014 than the year before, according to the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission. There is a far greater number of vehicles traveling on the roads and highways. Passengers in vehicles, as well as pedestrians, accounted for the highest number of fatalities.
There were 664 fatal crashes and 739 people killed on Louisiana roadways in 2014. This represents an increase of 2% and 5.1 %, respectively, since 2013—although crashes and fatalities are down about 26% overall since 2007. In 2007, there were 900 crashes and 993 fatalities.
A motorist is described as being alcohol-impaired if they have a measurable Blood Alcohol Content (or BAC for short) of .08 of higher. It is estimated that 192 fatalities in 2014 involved a driver who was alcohol-impaired. Despite the legal alcohol consumption age of 21, the alcohol-related fatal crash rate for 18-20-year-old drivers was about twice the average of drivers of all age groups in 2014. The Shreveport Times official reports show an increase in alcohol-related crashes among young drivers ages 18-24. The reports also show that this particular age group is involved in a growing number of fatalities from single-vehicle crashes due to aggressive driving that occurs in the late-night and early-morning hours.
Funding for highway safety projects has almost doubled since 2008, from $37.5 million to $70.7 million in efforts to reduce the number of accidents. The installation of cable barriers, ramp meters, cameras, and roundabouts are some of the contributing factors to accident decline.
While the overall number of accidents have decreased over the years, it is still an issue in the state of Louisiana. The Louisiana State Troopers are dedicated to improving the safety of highways but encourage drivers to do their part by making good decisions, being aware of their surroundings and always using their seatbelts to minimize the number of crashes on the roads.