I-12 speed limit could be too fast
Motorists traveling along most interstates in Louisiana are probably comfortable with the 70-mile-per-hour speed limit. But is that rate of speed too fast for some areas?
The issue has come to the forefront in St. Tammany Parish since a crash in May on Interstate 12 near Covington killed four people. An 18-wheeler rear-ended a vehicle that was slowed because of traffic, leading to other crashes.
Friends of the crash victims, along with residents in the area, have expressed concerns about certain stretches of I-12 being too fast, and subsequently, too dangerous.
Since the crash, St. Tammany Parish elected officials worked to fast-track a more than $100 million project to widen the roadway.
Getting that project done will certainly make that stretch of interstate safer. But state Department of Transportation and Development officials should at least consider re-evaluating the speed limit.
How exactly do they decide to set speed limits in the first place?
The DOTD takes into account several factors before determining speed limits. A few include roadway conditions, crash history and the volume of traffic.
Radar checks also come into play when figuring out what speed drivers feel is best. The DOTD website states that the speed “the majority of people consider appropriate is an important piece of information.”
Shawn Wilson, DOTD secretary, told the Times-Picayune the data helps determine which speed 85 percent of drivers are OK with.
When the department checks safety for roadways statewide, speed is one of the factors considered. The speed limit may be reduced if officials rule an area to be too dangerous for drivers.
But Wilson added that interstates are “typically a last-ditch alternative” when it comes to reducing speed limits.
Obviously, the dangerous stretches of I-12 are in need of improvements to make sure fatal crashes, like the one in May, don’t happen again. However, a lower speed limit may not be the sole answer.
Officials will have to consider several factors to make sure the highway is as safe as possible.