BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY) – Louisiana set a record in 2020 for the fewest motor vehicle crash injuries, while also producing the most fatalities in the state in over a decade.
According to the Center for Analytics and Research in Transportation Safety at LSU, the 64,500 people injured in crashes was the lowest number since the state began keeping detailed records in 1988. However, crashes resulting in deaths stood at 828, the highest in a single year since 2008.
Louisiana’s numbers were in line with national figures despite there being fewer drivers on the road in 2020 caused by the pandemic lockdowns.
“Fewer cars led to fewer injuries in 2020. However, less traffic led to more speeding, and too many people were not wearing their seat belts, which always leads to more fatalities,” said Lisa Freeman, executive director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission. “It’s truly tragic because many of those fatalities could have been prevented if drivers would obey the speed limit and everyone would buckle up.”
According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report, research suggests that even with fewer drivers, those “who remained on the roads engaged in more risky behavior, including speeding, failing to wear seat belts, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.”
“It is not a coincidence that people who don’t wear a seat belt are more likely to be killed in a crash,” Freeman said. “Wearing your seat belt is still the best way to protect yourself in a vehicle.”