The Atchafalaya Basin Bridge has a reputation for being one of the more dangerous bridges in Louisiana and given the amount of traffic that it sees every day, it’s no wonder why. The Atchafalaya Basin Bridge, also called the Louisiana Airborne Memorial Bridge, has been the site of over 1,000 incidents since 2014, and despite the many attempts to make the bridge safer over the years, the accident rate remains high.
However, there’s no reason why the Atchafalaya Bridge has to be so dangerous.
It’s an 18-mile length of highway that’s much like any other in the state, but because of the amount of traffic over the bridge, many drivers, especially truck drivers, get impatient and opt to travel faster than what is safe. Then, when an accident inevitably happens, the bridge’s narrow lanes and lack of shoulders cause hour-long disruptions in traffic, increasing the risk of further accidents.
Mitigation Efforts to Avoid Atchafalaya Basin Bridge Accidents
The first attempt at making the bridge safer came in 1998, when after a series of deadly crashes the government lowered the speed limit from 70 mph to 60. Even then, the high number of wrecks was attributed to commercial freight traffic—which is why their speed limit was reduced to 55 mph, and they were required to stay in the right lane for the length of the bridge.
However, accidents still continued to accumulate. In 2018, the Airborne Memorial Bridge was the site of 245 accidents and 70 serious injuries, and in 2021, that number had increased to 269 accidents, 89 injuries, and 2 deaths.
Finally, new legislation is currently making its way through the Louisiana Legislature that would require the installation of cameras at the beginning and end of the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge that track drivers’ speed over its length. If the proposed system were to detect a speeding driver, it would automatically issue a citation to the driver to discourage the behavior.
While this legislation could be a move in the right direction for the bridge’s safety, the latest news is that those cameras won’t be installed until at least 2024. In the meantime, the injury and death toll rise unencumbered.
Trucks flaunting road laws cause accidents
Throughout the history of Atchafalaya Basin Bridge accidents, one fact has been a constant: many of these accidents are caused by truck drivers flaunting road laws and basic safety precautions. As reported by The Advocate‘s Letters section, many drivers have noticed that there is little enforcement of the posted speed limits and lane restrictions on trucks. Many people have reported seeing trucks in the left-hand lane and going even faster than the passenger cars traveling at 60 or 65 mph.
Tractor trailers weigh between 35,000 pounds when completely empty, to 80,000 pounds or more when fully loaded. Because of their much greater mass, they can take 20%–40% more distance to come to a stop than passenger cars, and when they’re speeding, that figure is increased even further. The wrecks caused by careless truck drivers are often devastating, leading to thousands of dollars worth of property damage, catastrophic injuries, and wrongful death. Every day, we work with victims of Louisiana truck accidents to find the compensation they need to heal from their injuries and move on with their lives. It’s hard, but important, work.
How truck drivers ignore road rules
Negligent driving takes many forms, many of which are just as possible for passenger car drivers as they are for truckers:
- Distracted driving behaviors, which include eating, grooming, and texting while driving, as well as any other behavior that takes the driver’s attention away from the road ahead.
- Drunk driving or driving while under the influence of drugs
- Drowsy driving is especially widespread in the trucking profession since many truck drivers face tight shipment deadlines that fail to account for trucking regulations.
- Equipment failure, including tire blowouts and other maintenance issues
- Poor loading methods can lead to overweight truck accidents, jackknifing accidents, and more
- Speeding and other forms of reckless driving
- and others
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a Louisiana truck driving Atchafalaya Basin Bridge accident, you know more than anyone the pain, suffering, and financial cost such an accident can cause. You deserve remuneration for the costs you’ve borne so far, and those you’ll bear in the future as well.
Call the experienced Louisiana truck wreck lawyers at Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys for a free consultation about your case today. We truly care about each of our client’s well-being—which the trucking company, their insurance, and even your insurance don’t do.
We’re committed to helping you heal from your injuries so you can move on with your life as best as you can, and we know that fair compensation is a necessary part of that equation. We’ll work tirelessly to make sure you get the full compensation you deserve after your Atchafalaya Basin Bridge accident, so call us today.