DOTD, transportation partners urge motorists to drive safely

Published 2:57 pm Monday, December 19, 2022

Baton Rouge – Today, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D. was joined by transportation partners to discuss the importance of safe driving, especially during the holiday season.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, there were 10 crashes that resulted in 10 fatalities. During the same time period last year, there were 19 crashes that resulted in 25 deaths. From January to November 2022, throughout the state there have been 768 crashes with 825 fatalities.

Several crashes were caused by speeding, impaired drivers, and distracted driving. Some of the deaths were related to individuals not using their seat belt. Seat belts are the number one safety feature in a vehicle and they can save a life when used properly.

“One death is one too many and as a community, we need to work on reducing this number until there are zero deaths on our roadways,” said Secretary Wilson. “We see entirely too many deaths due to preventable acts, such as driving impaired and not wearing a seatbelt. Safety is our number one priority and this agency, along with our safety partners, works diligently throughout the year to provide resources and educational material on safe driving.”

“The hardest part of a trooper’s job is to deliver the horrific news that a loved one was killed in a motor vehicle crash,” said Colonel Lamar Davis, Louisiana State Police superintendent. “Please make sound judgments when behind the wheel. Drive sober, wear your seat belt, buckle your children properly, and avoid distractions. Just a few simple decisions could mean the difference between life and death. If you witness hazardous drivers, please call *LSP (*577) and report the vehicle to the nearest troop.”

“Christmas is a special time—a time of joy and a time to celebrate all that is good in our families and communities,” said Louisiana Highway Safety Commission Executive Director Lisa Freeman. “Christmas has also been a time of sadness, as we have seen our friends, neighbors, and family members sustain almost 600 injuries in motor vehicle crashes during last year’s Christmas holiday. And tragically, we lost 14 people in traffic fatalities in that same holiday time frame. Louisiana is due for a Christmas miracle on its roadways—a time when good fortune prevails on our state’s highways. We have the power to make the miracle happen by designating sober drivers, keeping our attention on the roadway, and always wearing our seat belts. That can be the magic of Christmas 2022.”

“An average of 24 emergency responders, including tow operators, are struck and killed by vehicles while working at the roadside each year – meaning someone in this line of work is killed, on average, every other week in America,” said AAA Public Affairs Specialist Don Redman. “This senseless loss of life is completely avoidable if drivers remain attentive behind the wheel and look ahead for hazards or emergency situations. Just by choosing to move over or slow down, we can all play a part in protecting our emergency roadside workers, especially during the busy Christmas and New Year holidays.”

“We see many types of accidents across the state, as MAP is often the first to arrive at a scene,” said Motor Assistance Patrol Regional Supervisor Richard Ardis. “We encourage motorists to slow down and move over, especially during the holiday season. Help us keep you safe so we can all make it home to our families.”

With Christmas and New Year’s approaching, motorists should expect to see an increase in traffic and should drive using the following safety tips:

  • Avoid driving while distracted.
  • Allow for extra driving time.
  • Make sure there is plenty of room between vehicles.
  • Wear your seat belt; it’s amazing how many people don’t wear seat belts when it’s clear they save lives.
  • Don’t drive impaired.
  • Be sure to use headlights if windshield wipers are on.
  • It’s the holiday season, so be nice to your fellow drivers.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) is committed to delivering transportation and public works systems that enhance the quality of life. In addition to more than 16,600 miles of roadway, including over 890 miles of interstate, DOTD supports the development of the state’s aviation, marine and rail infrastructures. Through this work, we are able to facilitate economic development, create job opportunities, improve vital evacuation routes, and make critical freight corridors safer and more efficient.

For more information, please visit www.dotd.la.gov, email dotdcs@la.gov, or call DOTD’s Customer Service Center at (225) 379-1232 or 1-877-4LADOTD (1-877-452-3683). Business hours are 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Please let us know how we may better serve you: Customer Service Survey