The April issue of Reader’s Digest has an interesting survey, “America’s Best, Worst, and Deadliest Roads” that uses data from 2007-2008 to rank each state on the condition of their roads, traffic congestion, and number of driving fatalities.
In the category of drunk driving fatalities, listed from worst to best, happily, for once Louisiana and Mississippi are not #1. (That honor goes to Montana, by a large margin – be careful driving in Montana!). Louisiana is #3 in DUI fatalities, however, and Mississippi is #6, so there is room for improvement.
According to the Director of the Mississippi Office of Highway Safety, Kim Proctor , DUI fatalities in Mississippi are actually down about 25% from 2005 numbers. So if Reader’s Digest had used data from before 2008, Mississippi would likely be even higher up the list.
The Reader’s Digest study also ranked the states from worst to best in speeding-related fatalities. Unfortunately, Mississippi is tied for first with Alabama for this one, but Louisiana is not even in the top 10 (it’s #11).
However, Louisiana was singled out for its poor road conditions, with I-55 and I-12 between Baton Rouge and Slidell, I-10 going over an industrial canal in New Orleans, Highway 31 from Lafayette to St. Martinville, and the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway identified as particularly treacherous roads.
No doubt Louisiana’s hazardous road conditions were a big factor in the state being named #2 worst overall for deadliest roads, behind only those wild drivers in Montana. Mississippi comes in at #6 worst overall.
Clearly, if you are driving in Mississippi and Louisiana, you need to drive defensively. Unfortunately, at least according to Reader’s Digest data, there is a better than average chance that you could be fatally injured in a DUI or speeding traffic accident when driving in these two states.