Fatal Accidents during COVID Lockdown
April 24, 2020 – If all of us have been quarantined for the last few weeks how can there have been so many traffic accidents and fatalities on the road?
We all know the answer to that question: Negligence. Neglect of the lockdown and neglect of motorists’ duty to drive safely and obey the rules of the road.
Fewer cars on the road doesn’t mean motorists can ignore speed limits or their obligation to drive safely. Ashley Moran, with Acadiana Planning Commission appeared on News 15 and noted there were 4 fatal crashes in a single week in Acadiana.
The potential for another deadly situation facing residents of Lafayette, Acadiana and the rest of the Louisiana caused state police to issue a news advisory, “Troopers Urge Safety Following Ninth Pedestrian Fatality This Month.”
Over the last 20 days, troopers have investigated nine fatal pedestrian crashes across the state, police said, and they urged drivers to increase awareness to keep everyone safe.
As the Joseph Joy and Associates personal injury research team noted in a blog post just weeks ago, Louisiana had been doing better as far as fatal car accidents. Louisiana was among the worst in 2018 for pedestrian safety and had showed some improvement. This latest trend in the quarantine era will probably wreck that trend. State police are encouraging both pedestrians and motorists to follow these safety guidelines to have a safe experience on our roadways:
Walking Safety Tips:
- Be predictable. Follow the rules of the road and obey signs and signals.
- Walk on sidewalks whenever they are available.
- If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible.
- Keep alert at all times; don’t be distracted by electronic devices that take your eyes (and ears) off the road.
- Whenever possible, cross streets at crosswalks or intersections, where drivers expect pedestrians. Look for cars in all directions, including those turning left or right.
- If a crosswalk or intersection is not available, locate a well-lit area where you have the best view of traffic. Wait for a gap in traffic that allows enough time to cross safely; continue watching for traffic as you cross.
- Never assume a driver sees you. Make eye contact with drivers as they approach to make sure you are seen.
- Be visible at all times. Wear bright clothing during the day, and wear reflective materials or use a flashlight at night.
- Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways, or backing up in parking lots.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs when walking; they impair your abilities and your judgment.
Driving Safety Tips:
- Look out for pedestrians everywhere, at all times. Safety is a shared responsibility.
- Use extra caution when driving in hard-to-see conditions, such as nighttime or bad weather.
- Slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or otherwise entering a crosswalk.
- Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and stop well back from the cross-walk to give other vehicles an opportunity to see the crossing pedestrians so they can stop too.
- Never pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk. There may be people crossing that you can’t see.
- Never drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
- Follow the speed limit, especially around people on the street.
- Follow slower speed limits in school zones and in neighborhoods where children are present.
- Be extra cautious when backing up—pedestrians can move into your path.
Additional pedestrian safety information may be found online.
Do your part to protect yourself and make sure your air bags are in good working order. Check to make sure you are not driving a vehicle subject to a federal airbag recall.
Wear your seat belt. No excuses. Louisiana Law requires all passenger to properly wear seat belts, stating in pertinent part:
A. (1) Each driver of a passenger car, van, sports utility vehicle, or truck having a gross weight of ten thousand pounds or less, commonly referred to as a pickup truck, in this state shall have a safety belt properly fastened about his or her body at all times when the vehicle is in forward motion. The provisions of this Section shall not apply to those cars, vans, sports utility vehicles, or pickups manufactured prior to January 1, 1981.
(2) A person operating or riding in an autocycle shall wear seatbelts while in forward motion.
(3) Each driver of a passenger car, van, sports utility vehicle, or truck having a gross weight of ten thousand pounds or less, commonly referred to as a pickup truck, shall not transport more persons than there are safety belts available in the vehicle.
Of course, keep in mind the recently revised Louisiana laws on child passenger restraints.
- Children under the age of 2 – must be restrained in a rear-facing child safety seat.
- A child who is at least 2 years old and has outgrown the rear-facing seat will need to be restrained in a forward-facing restraint system with an internal harness.
- A 4-year-old child who has outgrown the forward facing, internal harness system shall be restrained in a belt-positioning child booster seat.
- At nine year’s old, children who have outgrown the booster seat may use the adult safety belt fastened correctly.
- Under 13 years old – Ride in the back seat of the car, if rear seats are available.
- A child who can be placed in more than one category shall use the more protective one.
Please protect yourself and others during these challenging Coronovirus times. If you or a loved one is involved in an accident or somehow injured due to the negligence of someone else, do not hesitate to contact the personal injury team at Joseph Joy and Associates. Call us at (337) 232-8123 for a phone appointment.