Speeding was a factor in at least 27 percent of Louisiana traffic fatalities in 2013, according to a report issued Tuesday.

The state had 703 traffic fatalities two years ago and 193 stemmed in part from speeding, a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study using the latest available statistics shows.

More than 9,600 people nationally died from speeding-related crashes, down 7 percent from the previous year.

“Our highway fatality rates have declined significantly since 2007, but we are still losing precious lives here and throughout the country, and speed is a major factor,” John LeBlanc, executive director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, said in a prepared statement.

The state had 997 traffic fatalities in 2007, LeBlanc said.

Lack of seat belt usage is also a key factor in speeding-related fatalities.

Nationally, 49 percent of drivers were using seat belts in fatal crashes compared with 78 percent of drivers who were not speeding.

Comparable Louisiana figures were not immediately available.

In addition, drivers in the U.S. involved in fatal speeding crashes were alcohol-impaired more than twice as often as those not speeding, according to the report.

LeBlanc said young males — 15 to 24 — were most likely to be involved in the accidents.

“They are risk takers,” he said in an interview. “That is our hardest-to-reach demographic.”

In Louisiana, 16 of the fatalities where speeding was a factor took place on interstate highways, and five were on interstates in rural areas. LeBlanc said that is because, unlike city streets, T-bone and similar collisions do not typically happen on interstates.

While policies vary from parish to parish, first-time speeding offenders generally face fines of about $100.

The fine often increases depending on how much the driver exceeded the speed limit.

The national average for speeding-related fatalities is 29 percent.

The states with the lowest percentages of such deaths are Florida, 14 percent; Arkansas, 15 percent; and Iowa, 16 percent.

Those with the highest are New Hampshire, 49 percent; Pennsylvania, 48 percent; and Wyoming, 48 percent.

Texas had the most speeding-related fatalities with 1,175, followed by California, 961, and Pennsylvania, 550.

Those with the fewest were the District of Columbia, 9, Rhode Island, 17, and Vermont, 18.

A crash is considered speeding-related if the driver was charged with such an offense, or if the responding officer reported that the driver was driving too fast for the conditions or was traveling above the posted speed limit.

Traffic statistics are typically a year or two behind because of the time required to gather the data.

Follow Will Sentell on Twitter, @WillSentell. For more coverage of Louisiana government and politics, follow our Politics blog at http://blogs.theadvocate.com/politicsblog.