State rep hopes to make highways safer by reducing speed limit for big trucks

State rep hopes to make highways safer by reducing speed limit for big trucks
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

(WAFB) - Right now, big trucks like 18-wheelers, trailers, or even school buses can travel with the flow of fast-moving traffic on state highways, but if a bill proposed by Representative Stephen Carter passes, the days of big rigs pushing the speed limit could be a faint memory.

"Any trucks over a certain weight, and it includes school buses also, must go ten miles below the posted speed limit," explains Rep. Stephen Carter.

Rep. Carter says it boils down to safety, and one local resident, Harold Sutton, agrees. Sutton says slowing down trucks is a good safety precaution. "It's kinda' scary. We look to our left and look to our right and sometimes we feel squeezed in," said Sutton.

The District 68 representative says he came up with the idea to decrease the speed limit for big trucks throughout the state after the speed limit on the busy and highly traveled Atchafalaya Spillway was reduced. "I think the cars are 65 and trucks are 55 and I haven't seen or heard of any accidents recently on that spillway, so it seems to me if it works there, it should work on other highways within the state," he said.

Despite being a local truck driver, Jeffery Ganson agrees. He says oversized loads can be unstable, so he's all for driving slower. "If it's safer, you need to go with it," he said.

But Wallace Locke, who has been driving cross country for over 50 years, is not too pleased with the idea. "In 11 hours, I have to make as many hours as I can or I won't get out on time," said Locke.

Locke says miles equal money and slow speeds mess with the almighty dollar. "I have to keep moving at a steady pace to get the job done. One problem creates another one. We have to cruise and keep moving," he said.

Rep. Carter says he values truck drivers and their contribution to the economy, but safety is always the goal. "I'm not saying that all accidents that happen on the interstate are due to 18 wheelers or trucks or whatever, but it seems like a lot of them are," he said.

"I'm looking to ensure that the people that are on our highways and come through our state are safe and sound. I think one of the ways to do it is reduce the speed of trucks on our interstates and four-lane highways," said Rep. Carter.

Click here to read the full bill.

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