Fatalities/Crashes Mar Holiday Season

There were a reported 15 crashes with 20 fatalities on state highways over the Thanksgiving holiday from Nov. 24 to Nov. 29. While the Thanksgiving weekend is usually considered the holiday with the most crashes, there remains more than a month left in the holiday season. This Thanksgiving travel weekend was the most deadly Louisiana has seen in seven years.

Louisiana State Police reported that several crashes were caused by speeding, impaired drivers, and distracted driving. Some of the deaths were related to individuals not using their seat belt. Seat belts are the number one safety feature in a vehicle and they can save a life when used properly.

“My biggest concern is that we have suffered way too many fatalities in crashes that could have been avoided,” said DOTD Secretary Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D. “With the distracted driving, impaired drivers and speeding, our state’s worst problem when it comes to these crashes is driver error. It’s no wonder why the state is one of 16 that missed safety targets two years in a row. We need everyone to be responsible drivers so we can cut down on crashes and fatalities and be a safer state.”

“The increase in fatal and serious injury crashes is disturbing. Preliminary fatality statistics for 2021 have already surpassed those in 2020,” said Colonel Lamar Davis, Louisiana State Police Superintendent. “In 2021, nearly 900 people have died on Louisiana roadways. These deaths can be prevented by remaining vigilant while driving and following the laws. The hardest part of a trooper’s job is delivering death notifications to families, and you can help us prevent those notifications by driving the posted speed limit, using seat belts, driving sober and remaining attentive. Please call us at *LSP (*577) when you witness aggressive and unsafe drivers. We want all of our Louisiana citizens and visitors to enjoy the holiday season and not have to face tragedy.”

“There are already too many empty seats at holiday tables this year because of COVID-19,” said Lisa Freeman, Executive Director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission. “Deaths resulting from impaired driving, distracted driving or not wearing a seat belt are preventable tragedies, and we owe it to ourselves and our families to avoid those consequences and to make smart decisions when traveling this holiday season.”

“I strongly urge all Louisiana drivers to please, put the phone down and pay attention to your fellow drivers. A moment is not worth a life,” said Senator Patrick McMath, Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee.

“Holidays in Louisiana are a wonderful time to be with family and friends, but they can become a tragedy if we’re not safe on the roads,” said Representative Mark Wright, Chairman of the House Transportation Committee. “Drive safely—the extra time and attention are worth it.”

With Christmas and New Year’s approaching, motorists should expect to see an increase in traffic and should drive using the following safety tips:

  • Avoid driving while distracted.
  • Allow for extra driving time.
  • Make sure there is plenty of room between vehicles.
  • Wear your seat belt; it’s amazing how many people don’t wear seat belts when it’s clear they save lives.
  • Don’t drive impaired.
  • Be sure to use headlights if windshield wipers are on.
  • It’s the holiday season, so be nice to your fellow drivers.

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