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Rise in Highway Deaths Concern Louisiana Motorists as Holidays Approach

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently revealed that highway death rates in the U.S. rose in 2012, but is projecting those numbers to fall back this year. According to fatality data collected by the NHTSA, there were in excess of 4 percent more deaths in 2012 than in the previous year. However, early projections are showing a decline in fatalities for 2013. The hope is that those projections ring true once the statistics are tallied next year.

As the holiday season approaches, law enforcement agencies gear up for a busy traffic time. The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission implemented a "Click It or Ticket" campaign this year in an effort to reduce highway deaths in the state over Thanksgiving - traditionally the holiday that experiences the highest number of driving-related deaths. While traffic fatalities in Louisiana hover just under 1,000 per year, one wrongful death is one too many.

Common Fatality Causes

Transportation departments across the country scrutinize data collected from motor vehicle accidents in an effort to tackle and reduce those issues that cause personal injuries and fatalities. Some key findings from last year's NHTSA data include the following:

  • Pedestrians: Pedestrian deaths rose by nearly 6.5 percent. A large majority of vehicle versus pedestrian accidents occur at night in urban areas. Most of the accidents do not happen within road intersections and many involve alcohol use by either the pedestrian or the motor vehicle driver.
  • Motorcycles: Motorcycle accident deaths rise year after year at a consistent rate of over 7 percent. Louisiana requires the use of helmets by all motorcycle riders but head injuries still account for most motorcycle accident deaths. While alcohol use does factor into crash rates, inattentive or distracted riders and other motorists are more to blame.
  • Large trucks and commercial vehicles: Nearly 3,000 more people died in multi-vehicle collisions involving large trucks in 2012 than in the previous year, according to the NHTSA. Also, nearly 9 percent more truck occupants died in single vehicle accidents in the same time period.
  • Drunk drivers: Over 10,000 people died in alcohol-related accidents in the U.S. last year. A majority of the drunk drivers involved in the crashes had blood alcohol content levels of nearly twice the legal limit.
  • Nighttime seatbelt use: For some reason, motorists are less likely to wear seatbelts during nighttime driving. According to the NHTSA, more than half of the people who died in crashes after dark were not wearing seatbelts.

Help for the Injured

If you suffer the loss of a loved one or you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. While nothing can replace your loss, a knowledgeable attorney can help you recover financial expenditures such as medical expenses, wage loss and compensation for emotional and physical harm. Stay vigilant and safe during your holiday travels.

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