Drunk driving is not as common as it once was, but it still kills about 10,000 road users each year in Louisiana and around the country according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Impaired drivers claim a life every 45 minutes in the United States and cost the economy about $44 billion each year, but attitudes toward drinking and driving appear to be changing. The death toll in 2019 was the lowest since NHTSA began collecting drunk driving data in 1982.
Drunk driving more common in Louisiana
Drunk driving is a factor in about a third of all fatal accidents in the United States according to NHTSA, but that figure is much higher in Louisiana. Drunk driving fatalities surged by 8.9% in Louisiana in 2020, and about 40% of the deadly accidents in the Pelican State involve at least one motorist with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher. Louisiana State Police troopers in Terrebonne, Lafourche and Assumption parishes responded to 35 fatal accidents in 2020. Impairment was a factor in 24 of them.
Weekends most dangerous
Drunk driving accidents are far more common on weekends. The NHTSA data reveals that the chances of being killed in a drunk driving crash are twice as high on Saturdays and Sundays, and 80% of the motorists who cause these deadly accidents are men. They are also usually young. More than half of the drivers involved in impairment-related crashes each year in the United States are under the age of 35.
Young drivers should be the focus
The drunk driving death toll in Louisiana is worrying, but it is not as worrying as it used to be. Harsh DUI penalties, rigorous law enforcement and public awareness campaigns about the dangers of drunk driving seem to be deterring Louisiana residents from getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol.