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State police reporting increase in severe car crashes

Crash
Posted at 7:52 PM, Oct 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-05 08:41:09-04

LAFAYETTE, L.a — Car crashes are becoming more commonplace along Acadiana's roadways.

State trooper Thomas Gossen said the crashes they're working on are also more severe. The two major reasons behind this, he says, are failure or improper use of seat belts and impairment.

"This year, right now, we're at 51 fatalities," Gossen said. "Last year at the same time, we were at 45, so that is a significant amount. That's six people more than last year at this point that have had to receive a death notification to their families."

Gossen told KATC these statistics are solely from Troop I's jurisdiction over eight parishes and that the number is much higher, double or even triple when you consider other law enforcement agencies. He also said that in Louisiana alone, a crash occurs every three minutes.

"Every 11 hours and 57 minutes there's a fatality in Louisiana average."

Mike DeSelle with DOTD District 03 said Lafayette is the one parish out of eight in their jurisdiction with the most construction, which he noted can be cause for concern when it comes to dangerous driving.

"We need our traveling public to slow down because we have construction workers, we have equipment, we have state workers," DeSelle said. "And sometimes they're within feet of the roadway where the public is traveling on because the work requires them to be that close."

DeSelle told KATC the large amounts of construction seen throughout the parish are necessary for road repairs, and with potentially more money for infrastructure coming in, he said this won't be changing any time soon, therefore drivers should be as alert and aware as possible.

"It's those things that you don't expect in that split second that can cause the accident," DeSelle said. "And if you're looking at your phone or distracted in some other way, you miss that split second to catch that hazard and be able to respond to it."

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