Between January 1, 2014, and Tuesday there have been 1,183 crashes on the I-10 Basin Bridge, including 13 fatalities, Bill Oliver, DOTD District Administrator said.
Statistics show there are about 200 accidents on the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge every year. Oliver estimates three of those to be fatal.
Oliver says most of those accidents are due to driver error.
“We see a lot of people on their phones when they’re driving,” Oliver said.
“It only takes a second to change your life and somebody else’s life, and it’s not going to be for the best if you’re driving distracted,” Rodney Mallett, DOTD Communication Director, said.
Mallett says 70% of the crashes between Baton Rouge and Lafayette happen because drivers are distracted by either their smart phones, the radio or other electronic devices.
“So just think about that. If 70% of those crashes can be attributed to distracted driving, if people were not distracted, that’s a lot of crashes we could avoid,” Mallett said.
The state has lowered the speed limit on the Basin Bridge, but Mallett does not think the speed limit is the problem.
“It’s a straight stretch of highway. It’s not really a curvy or hilly or dangerous stretch of highway, so I believe sometimes people may get complacent, look down or look at their phone.”
Mallett says most accidents on the bridge end up happening in the same way.
“They were either side swipe or rear-end someone, and that is the cause of 70% of the crashes between Lafayette and Baton Rouge.”
I-10 westbound remains closed at Atchafalaya Basin Bridge traffic is being rerouted to US 90 via La. 415.
Hazmat and materials clean up of site is ongoing.
DOTD inspectors will begin once clean up is finished and conditions are safe.