Why is Driving in Eastern Louisiana So Dangerous?

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New Orleans and Baton Rouge are home to some of Louisiana’s largest populations, narrowly outnumbering other larger cities like Shreveport and Lafayette. Considering this, it is not too much of a surprise that many car accidents happen in these densely populated areas each year. Since this state is often ranked as one of the most dangerous to drive in, the statistics comparing even its own regions can be quite surprising.

So what sets Eastern Louisiana apart from other regions in terms of driving dangers? We examine some key crash statistics and characteristics to figure it out.

Comparing Crash Statistics: New Orleans vs. Baton Rouge

While population density is undoubtedly a factor in more accidents occurring, it is also important to acknowledge that both Baton Rouge and New Orleans are home to some of the state’s largest universities. This means that a younger demographic of more inexperienced drivers tends to be on the roads. However, this is not the only reason why driving in these areas could be considered dangerous.


As the state’s most well-known city in terms of pop culture appeal, New Orleans boasts the state’s largest population of over 390,000. Among this, over half of the residents in Orleans Parish (containing New Orleans and some rural areas) have a valid driver’s license. This trend also continues for injury crashes, as it ranks highest among the parishes.

However, despite its notoriety for being a hotspot for nightlife, the rate at which motorists are killed in alcohol-related accidents is relatively middle of the pack. In 2020, the rate at which drunk driving occurs is 5.81 fatal crashes per 100,000 licensed drivers, one of the lowest out of the parishes with the highest populations. In terms of overall crashes of this nature, however, it still remains relatively high.


Although New Orleans outranks Baton Rouge in terms of population and injury crashes, this parish actually has a higher number of overall crashes. While the causes of these accidents aren’t all recorded, many reports show that a significant amount of them resulted from circumstances like speeding, distracted driving, and driving under the influence.

With the proximity of Louisiana State University, which alone accounts for over 23,000 of the population, the possibility of one getting into an accident increases each day. Considering this number, there have been 11.12 fatal alcohol-related crashes per 100,000 licensed drivers in 2020 alone, making it the number one parish for this circumstance. Likewise, bicycle accidents are significantly more likely to occur here than in other places in the state.


Comparing these two populous areas to broader Louisiana, it would be easy to assume that most accidents occur in these urban areas. Statistically speaking, this holds up. The majority of the state’s accidents occur on these types of roads:

  • State roads: 11,232 injury and fatal crashes
  • City/local roads: 9,992 injury and fatal crashes
  • US Highways: 5,563 injury and fatal crashes

In a broader scope, it does solidify some reasoning behind more accidents occurring in larger parishes – any, if not all, of these roads would be available in those areas. Likewise, these kinds of roads also tend to have higher speed limits.

Jefferson Parish

However, it is surprising that more accidents are less likely to occur in the parish with the most licensed drivers – Jefferson Parish. This has nearly 20,000 more licensed individuals than Eastern Baton Rouge and more than 80,000 than Orleans.

Despite being fairly close to Eastern Baton Rouge and Orleans geographically, Jefferson differs in terms of demographics, as it is more of a suburban/rural area of the state with an older, married skewing population. While this cannot be said to definitively say that this area is inherently safer, it can point to a more considerable impact of inexperienced drivers contributing to the increased accidents in the other parishes.

Injured in Eastern Louisiana? Contact our New Orleans Attorneys

The Burrell Firm LLC is well-known in Eastern Louisiana for being one of the best personal injury firms in representing victims of motor vehicle accidents. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed as a result of another driver’s negligence, contact our team today. You can schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys by calling (504) 475-7578 or visiting our website.

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