What are the Pedestrian Laws in Louisiana?

A yellow pedestrian crossing sign in Louisiana.

Because of pedestrian injuries, Louisiana is the seventh-deadliest state in the country for pedestrians: according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 118 pedestrians were killed in our state in 2019. That’s 2.54 deaths per 100,000 people.

This grim statistic is a stark reminder of the importance of traffic and pedestrian safety in Louisiana, especially with the visiting tourists many Louisianans rely on for their livelihoods. However, Louisiana’s pedestrian laws regarding right-of-way are a little different than most other states. Read on to find out how they differ, as well as what you should do if you’ve been a victim of a pedestrian accident.

Louisiana Law Regarding Pedestrians

Louisiana law goes beyond other states in its protection of pedestrian traffic. Even when pedestrians don’t have the right-of-way, drivers still have the legal responsibility to avoid colliding with a pedestrian if at all possible. That is, Louisiana law defines a greater duty of care that drivers hold toward pedestrians.

Walking Along the Roadway

If a sidewalk is available, Louisiana law states that pedestrians must walk along the sidewalk. If there isn’t a sidewalk available, pedestrians should walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic. Finally, pedestrians are not allowed to cross an interstate highway except during an emergency.

For their part, drivers must take every precaution to avoid hitting a pedestrian, even if the pedestrian is breaking the law themselves. Even with this requirement in place, however, tragedies continue to happen on Louisiana roadways.

One recent example took place in Iowa: a Ford F-150 reportedly struck a pedestrian at the intersection of LA Hwy 101 and Gro Racca Road around 1 AM one night, killing the pedestrian. Apparently, the pedestrian was walking in the lane of travel, where the pickup truck struck them. While the driver showed no signs of impairment, investigators did take a toxicology sample.

Crossing the Roadway

People walking in a crosswalk to avoid a pedestrian accident.

Unlike many other states, Louisiana pedestrians don’t always have the right-of-way when crossing a road. While pedestrians do have the right-of-way in marked crosswalks, outside of those zones pedestrians should yield to motorists. In addition, pedestrians must not run in front of a vehicle that’s too close to take evasive maneuvers to avoid an accident.

Pedestrians who fail to follow their part of the law can be found partially liable in an accident. Louisiana personal injury law follows what’s known as the comparative negligence doctrine, which allows participants in an accident to recover damages inversely proportional to their liability in that accident. That means that even if a pedestrian is found 5% liable for a traffic accident, they’ll still be able to recover 95% of their damages in the accident.

Why Are Pedestrian Accidents on the Rise?

The last 10 years have seen a consistent increase in the number of pedestrian deaths. Experts have a few theories as to why that might be the case:

  • Light trucks and SUVs have become more popular than ever—in 2021, they accounted for over 80% of new vehicle sales. Their bigger size and mass means that in collisions, pedestrians struck by SUVs and trucks are twice as likely to be killed than when hit by a car.
  • Distracted driving has also been on the rise since the widespread adoption of cell phones. In 2019, over 3,100 people were killed, and 424,000 injured, in crashes involving a distracted driver—and one-fifth of those were walking, riding their bikes, or outside of a vehicle at the time.

Experienced Louisiana Pedestrian Accident Lawyers

An Illuminated walk sign for pedestrians in Louisiana.

If you’ve been hit by a car or truck while walking on the side of the road, or while crossing the street, your injuries could be serious. You need an advocate on your side who can help you get the compensation you deserve to pay for your mounting medical bills, lost wages, and your pain and suffering.

The accident lawyers at Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys understand what it takes to get you back on the mend. Give our experienced personal injury attorneys a call, toll-free, at 888.501.7888 for a free legal consultation today. We promise we’ll do everything we can to help you win your case—if you don’t win, you won’t owe us a dime.