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An Analysis of Fatal Crashes and Total Fatalities in Louisiana

Posted in Our Blog on October 7, 2019

Although the number of fatal crashes and total fatalities on Louisiana’s diverse roads and highways has been steadily decreasing in the past decade, the quantity of fatal crashes that still occur remains a serious problem – especially those involving drunk driving. We wanted to see where fatal crashes were still occurring on a regular basis in Louisiana. So, we turned to the data analysis and data visualization team at 1Point21 Interactive for assistance. Using data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, we were able to identify the location of all fatal car accidents that occurred in Louisiana from 2015-2017 (the latest data). This interactive map above shows all the fatal crashes In Louisiana over this time period.

Cities in Louisiana with the Most Fatal Crashes

Categorized by city, these have the largest quantity of fatal crashes and total fatalities in Louisiana.

City Fatal Crashes Total Fatalities Fatal Crashes Involving a Drunk Driver
NEW ORLEANS 139 149 49
BATON ROUGE 126 129 39
SHREVEPORT 69 71 21
LAKE CHARLES 52 54 18
LAFAYETTE 47 47 19
MONROE 29 30 10
HAMMOND 25 25 8
METAIRIE 21 23 4
ALEXANDRIA 20 21 5
SLIDELL 20 21 1

New Orleans topped the list in all metrics, with 139 fatal crashes leading to 149 total fatalities – and 49 of those crashes involving a driver who was intoxicated. Baton Rouge followed closely behind, with 126 fatal crashes leading to 129 total fatalities – and 39 crashes involving a drunk driver.

Interestingly, although the top 10 generally corresponds with the 10 most populous cities in Louisiana, there are quite a few notable exceptions:

  • Lake Charles had slightly higher fatal crashes and total fatalities than Lafayette – despite having nearly 40% less residents.
  • Despite having a population of just over 20,000 residents, Hammond has more fatal crashes and total traffic fatalities than three other places in Louisiana. These numbers are troublesome and may warrant further investigation.
  • The unincorporated suburb of Metairie has an uncharacteristically low number of fatal collisions and fatalities, despite having a population of over 140,000. If Metairie were an incorporated area, it would be the fourth largest city in Louisiana.

Why is This Important?

According to the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, traffic fatalities and serious injuries in Louisiana have decreased by 24 percent in the past decade. Despite that, the state’s fatality crash rate per 100 million vehicles traveled remains higher than the national average.

Pointing out which areas and roads have the highest concentration of fatal crashes and fatalities can help us pinpoint potential trouble spots in Louisiana. By doing so, we hope we can start some sort of discourse toward understanding why these occur at a higher rate in these particular areas – and how we can use these conversations to further reduce fatal crashes and fatalities in the state.

We hope that this visualization helps people to realize how many fatalities there are on our streets and highways in Louisiana and ultimately will make people think twice before speeding, driving distracted or drinking before getting behind the wheel.