State transportation leaders look into new safety measures following fiery crash

Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

WEST BATON ROUGE PARISH, LA (WAFB) - The state is looking at what more it can do to make a certain section of I-10 safer after a series of crashes this year.

Louisiana State Police says two people died in a fiery crash on I-10 E near Grosse Tete on Monday morning. It involved four 18-wheelers. Senior Trooper Bryan Lee says a suspected drunk driver flipped, causing a backup. Three big rigs were stopped, he says, when a fourth one rear-ended one of them, causing a domino effect.

"That driver and passenger in the 18-wheeler have succumb to their injuries. Two other drivers sustained moderate injuries and were transported to area hospitals," said Lee.

The interstate was shutdown for ten hours. The same thing happened not far from there on I-10 E near LA 415 in September, after a five-vehicle crash. A five-year-old boy died in that incident. Rodney Mallet, spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) says officials have noticed almost all of these wrecks were rear-end collisions.

"We are trying to do our part and we are certainly going to be prepared to step up our game as much as possible as we see a trend and we have to address these needs," said Mallet.

Mallet also says the state has added several safety features to that section of I-10 in the last year. They include cable barriers to prevent crossover accidents, message boards to inform drivers of any congestion ahead, and flashing yellow lights letting them know to prepare to stop. The speed limit has even been d ropped from 70 to 60 miles per hour before the Mississippi River Bridge. He says part of the problem is distracted driving, but he says the state is doing its part to explore what more they can do to raise awareness.

"I don't know what. We're certainly going to look at it in our safety group and intelligent traffic systems. People will look to see if there is any other way that we can give people warning of congestion that just occurs sometimes at a usual spot and usual time," said Mallet.

The state has also partnered with the popular Waze traffic app to help keep drivers informed of any backups before they get on the road.

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