How Does Louisiana Compare to Other States for Drunk Driving?

December 20, 2021

Drunk driving is a serious problem in the United States, and in Louisiana. Louisiana had one of the highest rates of fatal drunk driving crashes in the country in 2019, with 30% of fatal crashes involving a driver with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or more.

It’s important to hold people accountable when they breach their duty of care by getting behind the wheel after drinking too much alcohol. You can reach out to one of our  Louisiana drunk driving injury lawyers if you or someone you love gets hurt because of another driver’s intoxication.

A Sobering Look at Louisiana’s DWI Statistics

Drunk driving is extremely common in Louisiana’s parishes, and disproportionately affects young people and men.

  • Alcohol-impaired driving caused 9.4 deaths per 100,000 people in Louisiana among  21-24 year-olds. This is higher than the national average of 6.2 per 100,000.
  • In 2019, male drivers were killed in alcohol-related crashes in Louisiana at a rate of 7.4 per 100,000 people (higher than the national rate of 4.9 per 100,000). Comparatively, female drivers were killed in drunk driving crashes at a rate of only 2.1 per 100,000 (still higher than the national average of 1.6 per 100,000).
  • 71% of all alcohol-related fatal and injury-related crashes in that state in 2019 took place across 16 parishes, including Orleans, East Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and Jefferson.

What Measures is Louisiana Taking to Prevent Drunk Driving?

Louisiana’s DWI penalties consider the severity of the intoxication and the person’s criminal history (such as prior DWI charges) over the past 10 years. The Louisiana legal system may also require the installation of an ignition interlock device after a DWI. This device measures the alcohol in the driver’s breath and even stops a vehicle from moving if a driver tests over 0.02%.

  • 1st Offense: 10 days to 6 months of jail time and $300-$1,000 of fines. A driver who exceeds the BAC limit during probation may have their license suspended for 2 years and have an ignition interlock device installed.
  • 2nd Offense: 30 days to 6 months of jail time and $750-$1,000 of fines. Your driver’s license could be suspended for 4 years if your BAC was over 0.20%. An ignition interlock device can be installed for at least 6 months and during probation.
  • 3rd Offense: This is a felony offense with jail time of 1 to 5 years and $2,000 in fines. You must have the ignition interlock device in your vehicle until you have completed a substance abuse program and home incarceration. 

The state’s Highway Safety Commission takes part in Impaired Driving campaigns for public awareness of safer roads. They also conduct public sobriety checkpoints for drunk driving. Public sobriety checkpoints let police stop vehicles at certain visible locations to check for alcohol impairment.

What You Can Do to Curb Drunk Driving

You can protect yourself and others from a fatal car accident due to alcohol impairment by taking these measures:

  • Drinking and driving is often a result of people believing they are only tipsy and not completely drunk. You can educate your loved ones about the dangers of drinking and driving, regardless of how much alcohol is consumed. This is especially important to teach young adults. Reassure them they can contact you when they need a ride home after drinking with no judgment on your part.
  • Put together a plan for a safe ride home if you plan to drink at a party or social gathering. You can ask a non-drinking friend to be a designated driver. If you’re hosting a party where alcohol will be present, ensure all your guests leave with a sober driver.
  • When you notice someone has been drinking, take their keys and do not let them drive. A sober friend or family member can pick them up. You can also arrange for a taxi or a ride-hailing service to take them home safely.
  • Drunk drivers may speed, brake suddenly, and not pay attention to stop signs and traffic lights. Your best defense against drunk driving is to buckle up, so always wear your seatbelt when you’re in a vehicle.
  • If you see a driver exhibiting suspicious behavior, like swerving in and out of lanes or making illegal turns, they could be drunk. Try to get their license plate number and identify the car model and manufacturer so you can contact the police. By doing so, you might save their life or someone else’s.

Legal Counsel for Drunk Driving Accidents

If you are involved in a car accident with a drunk driver, call the Louisiana car crash attorneys at Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers. We have extensive experience handling cases for victims of drunk drivers in Louisiana, including Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and Shreveport.

Call our law office today if you are looking for legal guidance about your case and learn more about how we can help you get fair compensation following a drunk driving accident.