More pedestrians, bike riders killed in Louisiana

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Deaths involving pedestrians and bicyclists helped push the number of Louisiana highway fatalities up last year, even as the number of drivers killed in cars decreased.
Figures released Sunday by the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission show highway deaths for 2012 totaled 722 — up from 676 a year earlier.
However, the number of vehicle drivers killed in 2012 dropped to 457 from 467. Pedestrian deaths jumped from 93 in 2011 to 121 in 2012, and bicycle deaths increased from 16 in 2011 to 24 in 2012.
Other deaths accounted for in the figures include passengers in motor vehicles.
The figures were compiled by LSU professor Helmut Schneider.
“While we experienced a total increase in deaths last year, a close look at other statistics indicates that Louisiana continues to make progress in several key areas of highway safety,” Lt. Col. John LeBlanc, executive director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, said in a news release.
Among figures cited in the report:
— Seat belt use increased to 82.5 percent in 2013, the highest level recorded since the state began compiling such information.
— Crash deaths involving trains and motorcycles declined slightly.
— The percentage of alcohol-involved crash deaths remained at 41 percent for the third consecutive year, down from 46 percent in 2009.
— The fatal crash rate for youths ages 15 to 24 was slightly lower.

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