Allowing for local flexibility, LaDOTD developed an innovative approach to implement the State Highway Strategic Safety Plan (SHSP) with the creation of nine regional safety coalitions all working toward the common vision of Destination Zero Deaths (DZD).
Local stakeholder participation is vital in implementing the vision of Destination Zero Deaths. To accelerate the SHSP’s project implementation at the local level, Louisiana established nine Regional Transportation Safety Coalitions through an agreement between DOTD and the designated Regional Planning Commission (RPC) or the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). The DOTD has District Offices that work closely with the MPOs and State Police Troops. Each coalition is led by a full-time coordinator who serves as liaison between the state and local partners from all 4E’s of Safety: Engineering, Education, Enforcement and Emergency Medical Services.
The Northwest Louisiana Transportation Safety Coalition encompasses the parishes of Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Claiborne, DeSoto, Red River, and Webster. The Safety Coalition focuses on five emphasis areas: impaired driving, occupant protection, infrastructure and operations, young drivers, and distracted driving. Each emphasis area aligns with national safety campaigns such as "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" and "Click It or Ticket."
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In the past decade, over 40% of the total traffic fatalities involved alcohol and drugs. Louisiana bans persons under 21 to buy, consume and have an alcohol beverage in their possession. To address the issue, the SHSP combines high visibility enforcement with education and media efforts. The No Refusal Policy is implemented to heighten public safety awareness that DWI is a crime, not just simply a traffic offense.
Seat belts reduce the risk of death by 45% for drivers and front-seat passengers involved in crashes. Louisiana has a primary seat belt law that allows enforcement officers to stop and ticket a driver if they observe a safety belt violation. Despite achieving an all-time high in seat belt usage rate of 87.8%, there’s more work to do to achieve 100%. In addition to conducting overtime seat belt enforcement, the SHSP leverages on education and media efforts that highlight the importance of seat belt use and child passenger safety.
In 2018, distracted driving fatalities represented 20.55% of all fatalities and 33.68% of severe injuries. Louisiana’s working definition for distracted driving is a distracted or inattentive driver is one who is actively engaged in any activity that diverts his/her attention away from the task of driving. The distraction could be manual, visual, or cognitive and be inside or outside the vehicle.
In 2018, distracted driving fatalities represented 20.55% of all fatalities and 33.68% of severe injuries. Louisiana’s working definition for distracted driving is: A distracted or inattentive driver is one who is actively engaged in any activity that diverts his/her attention away from the task of driving. The distraction could be manual, visual, or cognitive and be inside or outside the vehicle.
In 2018, young drivers (15 to 24 years old) accounted for 25.23% of all fatalities, but only 13.4% of licensed drivers. Like most states, Louisiana’s young drivers are overrepresented in fatal crashes.