NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— Alcohol is the driving force behind many of fatal crashes in Louisiana. Traffic fatalities involving alcohol are up in Louisiana by 35 percent, that’s according to research and data by QuoteWizard by Lending Tree.

“Louisiana has more fatal crashes involving alcohol than many other states nationwide,” Nick VinZant, Senior Research Analyst at QuoteWizard by Lending Tree said.

“This is a trend heading in the wrong direction,” he said.

Analysts found that 21 percent of crashes involved someone severely impaired.

While fatal crashes involving alcohol are up, DWI citations are down 20% in Louisiana since 2010.

“It is not that law enforcement is not enforcing this and making it a priority anymore. That’s the opposite case, it is that most people have come to the conclusion that it is a bad decision that it can ruin not only your life, but somebody else’s,” VinZant said.

Sarah Douglas knows all too well the pain of her life changing because of a drunk driver. In a previous interview with WGNO she said, “This guy’s choice killed her.”

Last October her daughter Abby Douglas was killed by a drunk driver.

Yesterday Wendall Lachney was sentenced by a judge to 30 years in jail.

“Because you don’t think about it until you are in the shoes of having killed a 9-year old,” Douglas said.

“I think Louisiana needs to continue public awareness campaigns making this a priority. Really get the message across that impaired driving maybe you are under the legal limit, but that doesn’t mean you should be driving,” VinZant said.