Drunk driving remains an issue in many states across the United States, including Louisiana. The presence of intoxicated drivers on the roads poses a grave threat to public safety, leading to a higher risk of accidents and fatalities. According to the NHTSA, 37 people die every day in the United States as a result of people choosing to get behind the wheel while intoxicated.

What Do the Statistics Say?

According to the Center for Analytics & Research in Transportation Safety (CARTS), drunk driving incidents occur more frequently at certain times of the night in Louisiana. The 2022 top deadliest hours statistics in Louisiana were identified as follows:

  • 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.89/849 fatal crashes
  • 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.: 109/849 fatal crashes
  • 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.: 91/849 fatal crashes
  • 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.: 90/849 fatal crashes

CDC statistics show alcohol-impaired driving deaths in Louisiana are higher than the national average. The drunk driver death rate for all age categories in 2018 was 4.6 deaths per 100,000 people, much higher than the nationwide average of 3.2. Louisiana drivers aged 21 to 34 are the most likely to die from alcohol-impaired traffic accidents, with a fatality rate of 9.4 deaths per 100,000 (compared to a 6.2 national average).

Why are Certain Times More Dangerous Than Others?

Drunk driving is dangerous at any time, but certain times can be especially risky due to various factors, including:

Happy Hours

The CARTS statistics show the times of day most likely to have drunk drivers on Louisiana roads roughly correspond to traditional happy hour times in most Louisiana parishes. As people leave these establishments, often coinciding with rush hour — the period with the highest traffic congestion as people commute from work to home — the chances of encountering alcohol-impaired drivers can increase.

Research has shown that roughly 50% of drunk drivers consumed their last drink at a licensed bar or restaurant.

Bar Closing Times

The hours immediately following the closing time of bars and nightclubs often coincide with a surge in drunk driving incidents. Patrons who have consumed alcohol in these establishments may be tempted to drive home, particularly if they have not made alternative transportation arrangements.

Day of the Week

CARTS statistics show Friday is the most dangerous day of the week on Louisiana roads.

Fridays witnessed the higher overall number of crashes in 2022, with 24,923 accidents. However, the other days of the weekend, Saturday and Sunday, had most fatal crashes.

Less Visibility at Night

As evening approaches, the ability of drivers to see, recognize colors, and view surroundings goes down. Because visibility is lower at night, driving is more hazardous, especially if a driver’s motor skills, reaction time, and judgment are impaired due to alcohol.

Social and Cultural Factors

Weekends, holidays, and special events often see an uptick in social gatherings and celebrations where alcohol consumption is more prevalent. These occasions can lead to more individuals consuming alcohol and driving under the influence.

For example, National Safety Council (NSC) statistics show that nationwide crash fatality rates involving an alcohol-impaired driver are consistently higher during holidays like Independence Day than on the average weekend. In 2020, the annual average of crashes caused by an impaired driver was 30%, compared to 41% during a holiday.

Lack of Public Transportation Options

Limited or inadequate public transportation during late hours may contribute to people driving while intoxicated instead of seeking alternative transportation options. Only 18 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes offer public transport such as buses. Many of these parishes offer limited transportation services primarily to the elderly and disabled, not to the general public.

Fatigued Driving

NIOSH reports have also drawn a correlation between drowsy driving and driving late at night. The highest rates of drowsy driving occur between midnight and early morning from 12 a.m. to 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. to 6 a.m. and during the late afternoon starting 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.  Drivers on the road during these late-night/early-morning hours may also be more likely to be fatigued, which can compound the impairing effects of alcohol.

Dudley DeBosier Helps Victims of Drunk Drivers

Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers has represented the rights and interests of Louisianans for over 14 years. If you are injured in a traffic accident by a drunk driver in Louisiana, contact one of our New Orleans car accident attorneys.

At Dudley DeBosier, we will handle your case with the tact and compassion you deserve. Our team is qualified to provide you with the legal representation you need to earn maximum compensation for your injuries.

This content has been reviewed by Chad Lederman, Director of Legal Operations at our New Orleans office.

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