Increase in traffic fatalities in Lake Charles

LCPD is seeing more traffic fatalities this year already than last year
Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 10:23 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - The Lake Charles Police Department usually works approximately 4,800 crashes per year. On average 11 of those are fatalities, but this year, they’re already seeing an increase.

“This year, midway through the year, we’re up to 12 with one pending,” said Sergeant Scott Dougherty with LCPD.

Sgt. Dougherty says no two of the crashes they are called to are the same, but there are some similarities overall.

“We really don’t have a root cause other than inattentiveness, and people needing to be polite, take your time. Don’t make your left turns if you think traffic’s even coming,. Don’t make your turns if you can’t see what’s coming. Don’t guess, and we can try to bring some of these numbers down hopefully,” Sgt. Dougherty said.

He said following these precautions can protect you, along with fellow drivers, and help to stop the increase in traffic fatalities in the Lake Area.

Sgt. Dougherty emphasized that any kind of traffic accident can be extremely overwhelming, emotional or traumatic for some people. Adding on a fatality just adds on to the trauma for some.

“Just getting in a crash is traumatic enough. If you add the fact that somebody lost their life to that, even if the person who did not lose their life isn’t even at fault, it’s still a hugely traumatic event.” Sgt. Dougherty said.

He said they have seen a majority of these crashes in the recent months.

“A majority of the fatalities that have occurred in Lake Charles this year have happened since Memorial Day weekend, and I would attribute that jump to increase in traffic,” Sgt. Dougherty said.

He says a lot of these crashes are largely due to people moving back into their homes or people traveling to the Lake Area that are not familiar with local streets. He said another common reason for these crashes is texting and driving.

Other than inattentiveness, and multiple texting and driving incidents, Sgt. Dougherty said there are not many other trends in these crashes. Some of them involved alcohol, some were late at night, and some were in the middle of the day.

If you do get in a crash, there are three important steps to follow.

“Make sure everyone’s okay. Call 911 if you need, well call 911 immediately and notify the police and an ambulance. Get your vehicles off the roadway if they’re movable and then standby and wait for police,” Sgt. Dougherty said.

He says a lot of people have the misconception that they can’t move their cars from the original crash site, but emphasized that police officers can still investigate the cause of the crash if the car or vehicle is moved to the side of the road.

Moving your vehicle can also help prevent later crashes.

Sgt. Dougherty also said that it’s always better to be safe than sorry, and to call an ambulance if you feel you need it at all. He said you don’t have to ride in the ambulance or even go to the hospital. It’s just always safe to be checked out by medical professionals.

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