Analysts: Increase in traffic fatalities fueled by impaired, aggressive driving
Lake Charles, La. (KPLC) - Data released this week shows that vehicle crashes in Louisiana killed 972 people in 2021, a 17-percent increase from the previous year, which analysts attribute to an upswing in impaired and aggressive driving.
More people were killed on Louisiana roads in 2021 than in any year since 2007, according to the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission (LHSC).
Nationwide, 42,915 people were killed in traffic accidents last year, the largest year-to-year increase ever reported through the nationwide Fatality Analysis Reporting System, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The Center for Analytics and Research in Transportation Safety at LSU recently released the state’s 2021 traffic statistics, showing the following increases from 2020:
- A 32-percent increase in fatal crashes involving intoxicated drivers.
- 174 interstate fatalities, a 49-percent increase.
- 185 pedestrian fatalities, an increase of nearly 27 percent.
- A 17-percent increase in crashes that caused moderate or severe injuries.
- A 4.9-percent increase in motorcycle fatalities, which had been on the decline in previous years.
- A 2.9-percent increase in bicycle fatalities.
Center for Analytics and Research in Transportation Safety Executive Director Helmut Schneider said distracted, impaired and aggressive driving, which increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, are the main causes of the rise in fatalities.
LHSC also attributes the deadly year to the pandemic’s impact on federally funded road safety campaigns.
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