Louisiana set new record for highway deaths in 2021

Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 1:15 PM CST

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Louisiana set a new record for the number of deaths on its public highways in 2021, according to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.

DOTD officials say there were 914 highway crashes and 997 deaths in 2021.

The new record surpasses the previous one set in 2007 with 993 deaths.

Last year’s statistics are up from 2020 when there were 762 crashes and 828 fatalities.

However, officials say the current data from 2021 is preliminary and could change as more data becomes available. They say the official numbers will not be known until the end of March.

Gov. John Bel Edwards called the statistics “alarming.”

“The fact that there are an average of three deaths per day on Louisiana highways is unacceptable,” he said. “If travelers would obey the traffic laws, wear their seatbelts and be patient with one another, we could see these numbers go down considerably. Please keep the people who died in crashes in your thoughts and prayers – there are nearly 1,000 family members who died in 2021.”

According to the data, impaired and distracted driving are the cause of most highway deaths.

Alcohol use has been involved in 40% of all highway deaths in Louisiana, according to statewide crash data collected between 2017 and 2020.

“It’s extremely disheartening to see our highway fatality statistics soaring in the wrong direction,” said DOTD Secretary Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D. “We consistently stress to everybody the dangers of distracted and impaired driving and the importance of seatbelts, but we have to do better.”

“With our families being our number one priority, we should all be doing everything possible to make it home to them,” state Sen. Patrick McMath said. “Let’s focus on the road so we and our fellow drivers make it home every day.

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