More than 2,000 deadly traffic crashes claimed 2,269 lives in Louisiana between 2015 and 2017, and alcohol played a role in a worryingly large number of them. When the nonprofit group Safer America studied accident statistics to identify the Pelican State’s most dangerous roads, the researchers expected to find that road deaths most often occur on major arteries like Interstate 10 and U.S. Route 190. What surprised them was the high number of fatal crashes that involved an intoxicated driver. Drunk driving fatalities account for 28.1% of the road deaths in Louisiana, but that figure rises to as much as 47.6% on some of the state’s most dangerous roads.
Interstate 10 is the busiest stretch of road in Louisiana and is the primary highway connecting New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and Lake Charles. It also links Louisiana to Texas and Mississippi, which means it is used by both semi-tractor trailers and tourists crossing the southern United States. The 212 fatal motor vehicle collisions that occurred on Interstate 10 between 2015 and 2017 make the 275-mile ribbon of asphalt the state’s most dangerous stretch of road. That is more than two and a half times higher than the 48 deadly crashes that took place on U.S. Route 190, which was the second most deadly road on the list.
Alarming rates of drunk driving
Drunk driving fatalities in Louisiana fell by more than 28% between 2009 and 2018, but the data suggest that intoxication remains a thorny road safety problem in more rural parts of the state. On U.S. Route 90, which runs north of Interstate 10 and avoids most of the large population centers, drunk driving fatalities accounted for 42% of all road deaths between 2015 and 2017. On Louisiana State Road 10, that figure was almost 48%.
Suing drunk drivers
Intoxicated drivers who cause fatal crashes are often killed themselves or sent to prison for years, but this does not mean their victims are unable to seek compensation. While deceased or incarcerated people are not able to make restitution, their estates or insurance companies could be sued. If they decide to pursue such a lawsuit, victims of these crashes could use police and toxicology reports to establish impairment and negligence.