Lafayette Road Safety Overview
Lafayette has a mixed safety record. On one hand, Lafayette has more fatal crashes per capita than the rest of Louisiana. This means that you have a higher risk of dying in a car accident in Lafayette than elsewhere in the state.
On the other hand, Lafayette has fewer non-fatal injury crashes per capita than the rest of the state. And with this lower rate of injury crashes, accident victims in Lafayette Parish have a slightly higher chance of walking away from a car crash uninjured.
Lafayette Traffic Accident Statistics
Traffic crash statistics in Louisiana come primarily from the Center for Analytics & Research in Transportation Safety (CARTS). Louisiana State University maintains this database using traffic accident reports filed by Louisiana law enforcement agencies. As a result, the data reflects the most accurate crash information available.
In 2022, Lafayette Parish had 10,641 traffic accidents. The total number of accidents in Lafayette fell about 9.4% in 2022 compared to the prior year. This downward trend reverses a big jump between 2020 and 2021. But 2020 had an unusually low number of crashes due to COVID-related lockdowns.
October is the most dangerous month of the year for Lafayette drivers. About 10.1% of Lafayette’s fatal and non-fatal injury crashes happen in that month, although October represents only about 8.5% of the number of days in a year.
Unsurprisingly, the holiday period with the highest crash rate was Mardi Gras, with 33 crashes per 100 hours. Independence Day had the lowest crash rate at only 21 crashes per 100 hours. But three people died over the Fourth of July in 2022, tying the three fatalities over New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day.
According to CARTS, most accidents in Lafayette happened on Thursday and Friday. These days accounted for about 33.3% of the city’s crashes. The safest days to drive are weekends. Saturday and Sunday accounted for only about 23.3% of crashes in 2022.
The most likely time of day for a traffic accident, according to CARTS, fell during the evening commute. Over 16.9% of crashes happened between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. even though those two hours only make up 8.3% of a day. This difference reinforces the fact that crashes are not random but instead result from predictable factors.
Injuries and Deaths from Lafayette Crashes
Crashes in Lafayette killed 19 motorists in 2022. Another 4,422 drivers and passengers suffered non-fatal injuries. Most states release data about the severity of injuries suffered in traffic accidents, but CARTS does not include injury severity data.
Louisiana uses an ABCDE scale for rating injury severity:
- A means a fatal injury
- B means an incapacitating injury preventing the person from leaving the scene
- C means a visible but non-incapacitating injury
- D means a complaint of pain or other symptoms without a visible injury
- E means no injury
Louisiana does not provide a breakdown of the B, C, or D injuries. Instead, the statistics only indicate that 4,422 people in Lafayette suffered one of these injury types in 2022.
Vulnerable Road Users in Lafayette
In addition to the motorists killed or injured in Lafayette according to CARTS, the parish also recorded:
- 14 pedestrian fatalities
- 65 pedestrian non-fatal injuries
- 4 cyclist fatalities
- 47 cyclist non-fatal injuries
- 5 motorcyclist fatalities
- 94 motorcyclist non-fatal injuries
These road users are particularly vulnerable to injury or death because they have no protection in a crash. Worse yet, drivers often fail to spot them due to their small size. And even if they do spot them, they often fail to yield the right of way to these vulnerable road users even when the law requires them to yield.
Causes of Crashes in Lafayette
According to CARTS, most crashes happen in clear weather with dry roads. Lafayette only had two car accidents that resulted from an equipment failure such as a blown tire or faulty brakes in 2022. Instead, driver behaviors were the primary cause of car crashes in Lafayette that year.
Some common causes of crashes included:
Failure to Yield the Right of Way
The police issued 345 traffic tickets for a failure to yield after Lafayette vehicle crashes in 2022.
These types of violations usually result from intersection accidents where a driver:
- Entered the intersection out of turn
- Turned across the path of oncoming traffic
- Merged or turned into traffic without waiting for the path to clear
These accidents often cause serious injuries because cars collide at an angle.
Disregarding a Traffic Sign
Louisiana separates yield signs and stop signs from other signs when issuing traffic citations. The second-most common citation issued after a crash was for disregarding these “other” signs, including:
- One way
- Wrong way
- Do not enter
- No passing zone
In many cases, violating the directions provided by these signs will create the conditions for a dangerous head-on collision.
Following Too Closely
This violation, also known as tailgating, happens when a driver follows dangerously close to another vehicle. These violations often lead to rear-end collisions.
Worse yet, the risks of tailgating get compounded by other dangerous behaviors like speeding, aggressive driving, and distracted driving. When these behaviors mix, the risk of a crash increases significantly.
Where Crashes Happen in Lafayette
According to CARTS, most crashes in Lafayette happen on state and U.S. highways such as:
City streets have the second-highest number of crashes. Roughly 74% of crashes in Lafayette Parish happen in Lafayette and the other parish towns, according to CARTS. Roughly 26% happen on rural roads between towns.
Although you might expect the interstates to be death traps, only about 11.6% of the car accidents in the parish happen on I-10 and I-49.
Navigating Lafayette’s Roads Safely
Lafayette’s roads are relatively safe. But you can always find ways to improve your personal safety and decrease your crash risk.
Drive carefully when you use the highways and city streets in Lafayette. Most of the crashes in the parish happen on these roads. You should exercise particular care at intersections where drivers are prone to disregard the right of way. And always wear your seat belt. When an unavoidable crash happens, a seat belt can save your life.
By exercising due care and taking a few common-sense precautions, you can safely navigate Lafayette’s roads.