Most people in Louisiana know that drunk drivers are responsible for numerous deaths in the state and across the country. But, just how bad is the problem in Louisiana and in Lafayette Parish specifically? Some statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that the problem is extremely serious.
According to the NHTSA, there were 737 fatal motor vehicle accidents in Louisiana in 2014, the latest year for which statistics are published. Of these, 253 -- or 34 percent -- were in crashes caused by an intoxicated driver. In Lafayette Parish, out of the 31 traffic deaths in 2014, 12 were alcohol-related.
Deaths caused by drunk drivers are particularly tragic because they are completely preventable. There is nothing inevitable about a drunk driving fatality; in every case a person made the choice to get behind the wheel after having too much to drink. Yet despite regular law enforcement crackdowns and public awareness campaigns, people continue to drink and drive.
The loss of a loved one in an accident caused by a drunk driver can devastate a family. For those who are left behind, grief is often mixed with anger and a strong desire for justice. The drunk driver who caused the crash will face serious consequences through the criminal justice system.
The civil justice system also has an important role to play. Through a wrongful death lawsuit, surviving next of kin can make the drunk driver pay for the harm they caused. The family can demand compensation for final medical expenses, funeral expenses, loss of companionship and loss of support.
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Traffic Safety Performance (Core Outcome) Measures For Louisiana," accessed Feb. 22, 2016