From 2014 to 2016, more than 90 people were involved in fatal accidents in Tangipahoa Parish. That statistic, according to a campaigner working to reduce the number of avoidable deaths, is too many, and indicates that change is needed in Louisianans’ driving habits.
Donna Miller, Tangipahoa Parish President Robby Miller’s wife, is a local businesswoman who approached former state police trooper Ron Whittaker regarding the unfortunate number of fatal vehicle crashes. She was particularly concerned with the number of tragedies involving young victims, who are grossly over-represented in car crashes that lead to death.
Whittaker lives in Hammond and he spoke to the Hammond Kiwanis Club recently about Miller’s concerns. He addressed the Stop the Knock campaign, a large campaign in neighboring Mississippi, which would hopefully stop that knock on the door when police officers have to tell a family their loved one has died in an accident.
3 Deaths in 10 Days Prompts Campaign
Miller sought out Whittaker’s assistance in her campaign after hearing of 3 Louisiana residents who died in car crashes, in just a 10-day period. All of the accidents during this short time had alarming similarities. They involved youth driving on 2-lane narrow roads, the drivers were speeding, and 2 of the 3 victims weren’t wearing seatbelts.
Stop the Knock Strives to Educate on Avoiding Fatal Accidents
“We’ve got to stop that knock,” Whittaker told the attendees of the Kiwanis meeting. Miller was supposed to join Whittaker at the presentation, but she couldn’t, ironically. She was at a funeral for former NFL player and Mayor of the Village of Tangipahoa, Michael Dywane Jackson Dyson, who was killed a few days earlier in a fatal vehicle accident.
Two residents of Hammond died earlier that week, in separate accidents; the victims were just 18 and 32 years old. Miller’s campaign hopes to put an end to these types of fatal accidents that result in lives taken way too early.
Stop the Knock involves talking to civic groups and leaders about the top causes of fatal car crashes. It attempts to educate those with the power to pass laws and influence others, teaching them how to help reduce fatalities by an auto accident.
Leading the Way to Safer Driving
Whittaker’s talk with the Kiwanis club urged leaders of the group to encourage young people to drive defensively, to avoid distractions, and to always wear a seatbelt. She also hoped to reinforce how important it is to never drive impaired. Tangipahoa Parish has several ways for drinkers to get a ride home, including Your Ride, Our Driver, LLC., a company started by off-duty police officers that provides professionally-driven rides through a booked service.
Distracted Driving: One of the Biggest Cuases of Car Crashes
Texting, talking, and eating while driving are all forms of distracted driving—one of the leading causes of fatal accidents. Whittaker says that young people who have more than 3 other youths in the car quadruple the odds of getting into a car crash.
What else makes for a dangerous driving situation?
- Driving too fast on Tangipahoa’s narrow rural streets, or any road, is another top cause of fatal car accidents.
- Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs – legal or illegal – is extremely hazardous.
- Distracted driving can lead to death – for the driver and others.
- There are serious consequences, personal and legal, for anyone who chooses to drive in an unsafe manner.
If you’ve been the victim of someone who has not driven responsibly and who has caused you injury from a car accident, my team of attorneys at The Law Offices of Tony Tramontana would like to talk with you. Fill out the contact form on this page and we’ll be in touch.
US 90 Through South Louisiana is Named State's Most Dangerous Highway
A recent study has identified US 90 running through South Louisiana as the most dangerous highway in the entire state, also reportedly the 13th most dangerous highway in the country.
In the study, which business fleet and transportation consulting firm Geotab released to the public, data compiled by the Federal Highway Administration and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was combed through to reveal the most dangerous highways. All highways considered were given a “Fatal Crash Rate” as determined by examining the number of deadly crashes occurring on the road while also adjusting numbers for daily traffic figures.
US 90 Sees Average of 27 Fatal Crashes Per Year
The Geotab study data shows that US 90 sees an average of 27 deadly crashes each year.
This unfortunate number is a bit difficult to break down by parish, but news articles in databug.com archives point to the majority of crashes occurring in Iberia, St. Charles, and St. Mary parishes.
CEO of Gray’s South Central Planning and Development Commission, Kevin Belanger, says lack of controlled access onto Highway 90 is the reason for so many deadly crashes.
He notes that there are access points all over US 90, with people entering the road from all of the points, and most of the collisions are due to sudden braking. Rear-end collisions and side collisions are common as people turn onto and enter the roadway.
Politicians and Businesses Push to Upgrade US 90
Local politicians and businesses have pushed for years to get US 90 upgraded to current interstate standards. They’ve advocated for the revamped highway, which would be called I-49 South, to have limited access in order to ease travel between New Orleans and Lafayette.
CDM Smith and Regional Economic Models recently conducted a study for the Community Foundation of Acadiana that mostly focused on Lafayette; they projected upgrading the stretch of roadway from Raceland to Des Allemandes would cost about $150 million. This proposed highway upgrade is estimated to be completed by 2023. Additionally, a proposed upgrade to Interstate 310 in St. Charles Parish would cost $838.5 million and not be completed until 2021.
All of these proposals are considered rather optimistic since the United States federal government and the Louisiana state government are currently lacking in source money to complete such projects. Regarding US 90, State Police Troop C reports:
- Over the past 4 years, the section of highway that runs through Gray has seen about 1 or 2 fatal crashes annually.
- Within the past 4-1/2 years, Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes have seen an average of 7 deadly crashes per year.
Until these sections of roadway are updated, drivers must be careful when entering the highway and while driving on it. Distracted driving must be quelled and all drivers must understand that their concentration on the road is required at all times. Any slip in attention while driving, especially on US 90, can lead to injury or fatality for a driver and others on the interstate.
Any Highway Can Be a Dangerous Highway
If you’ve been a victim of a distracted driver or negligent driver accident in Louisiana, fill out the form on this page to contact the Law Offices of Tony Tramontana. We’d like to hear your story and let you know how we can help.