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Drunk drivers play role in majority of serious Louisiana crashes

Each year, a particular list is published that ranks each state from number 1 to 50. For the past four years, Louisiana has taken the top spot on this list. Before the readers of our Lake Charles personal injury law blog get excited, ranking top on this chart isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Why? This list ranks all 50 states in terms of how safe it is for drivers. Landing in first place means that based on the algorithm used, the Bayou State is home to the worst drivers in the nation. The incredible number of drunk driving accidents was largely to blame for this ranking.

Data shows that approximately 53 percent of all serious injuries or fatalities that occur on highways in the state can be linked back to a drunk driver. What might surprise some of the readers of our blog or those that looked at the rankings list is that Louisiana actually has a set of drunk driving laws that are tougher than a lot of other states.

In Louisiana, the law doesn’t leave much wiggle room for individuals convicted of multiple DWIs. Those that hit their third DWI conviction are required to spend two years in jail. Upon this third conviction, the law provides the state with the power to seize the individual’s vehicle and sell it.

There are some people, like columnist Jim Brown, that argue that it isn’t the laws that are the problem when it comes to this behavior in Louisiana. Brown argues that there is a problem with enforcement of these laws and a lack of communication between parishes. He noted that many of these charges are eventually even reduced to careless or reckless driving, offenses that carry with them very different, less stringent penalties.

As noted above, the number of drunk driving accidents that result in serious injuries or even death is a big number. The victims in these accidents don’t have to rely on the enforcement of criminal sanctions to obtain legal relief. The civil process provides victims and their families with the funds to not only pay for definitive costs such as medical bills or lost wages but also compensate them for the pain and suffering endured as a result of the actions of another.

Source: Bayou Buzz, “Louisiana should drink stiffer DWI law enforcements,” Jim Brown, April 10, 2014

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