Iberville Sheriff’s Unit Blows By Motorist Doing Speed Limit Just Days After New Basin Bridge Fines Go into Effect
With fines doubling under a new Atchafalaya Basin Bridge speeding law that recently went into effect, motorists are on higher alert in more ways than one.
Senate Bill 435 Bill / ACT 426 established the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge as a highway safety corridor due to the alarming amount of fatalities along that particular stretch of Interstate 10.
DOTD says that in 2021, motor vehicle crashes increased statewide, with a total of 971 fatalities, an increase of 17 percent from 2020. The highway safety corridor will focus on reducing the number of fatal crashes, which often closes the basin bridge for hours at a time.
Safety cameras that will have the capability to determine whether or not a vehicle crosses the bridge "too soon" as a result of speeding will likely appear in 2023 as the final installment of the three-phase process but motorists are already preparing for the changes.
There are many motorists who have been "timing" themselves on the basin bridge, and to say the results have some folks on edge would be an understatement.
A large part of the local population feels like this is a money grab (what isn't, right?), and while the small margin for error does give off major "gotcha" vibes, the new fines and camera-assisted timing system aim to reduce the speeding that leads to serious crashes, "especially since the bridge has narrow shoulders which allows for little room for those speeding to recover."
Anyone who's ever been "crashlocked" on the bridge for hours can probably relate.
But these new laws and higher fines (that have technically gone into effect as of Aug 1.) aren't just making drivers more aware of their speed. It's making motorists more aware of the speed of others—particularly law enforcement.
Chances are you probably heard about the head of the Louisiana State Police who went viral after one of his troopers pulled him over for speeding.
People weren't as upset with the head of State Police going too fast as much as they were bothered by the fact that he was let go without any penalty at a time when state leadership was introducing the current new laws that doubled fines to address the speeding issue.
That's what bothered a listener who sent us a video that she recorded of an Iberville Parish Sheriff's unit rolling past her on the basin bridge while she was driving at the posted speed limit of 60 mph.
The listener shared the video with us anonymously out of fear of retaliation but expressed that she was aggravated with the fact that police and other authorities don't have to adhere to the rules that they have laid out for the rest of the public—especially with fines that are now doubled.
I asked her how she knew the officer was speeding and she told me that she was doing 60 mph (as seen in the video) and saw the unit approaching quickly until it drove past her "as if she was standing still."
This police officer was not on an emergency call because their lights were not on.. they basically flew by me... I was doing 60
Her biggest gripe was that the cops shouldn't get any special treatment if safety is the biggest reason behind the new law.
I don't care if you are the president of the United States... Speed limit 60? Do 60... If they get pulled over they deserve a ticket just like all of us common folks
This truly makes me wonder if people ever cared about cops speeding until the new law went into effect. I'll be honest, I've been watching cops speed around my entire life, and I just figured they had carte blanche or somewhere important to be.
I guess when you think about it, police officers should be the ones setting the examples which is why I can understand why motorists who are giving little to no room for error expect the same from those who are held to a higher standard in our community.
We're barely one month into the first phase of this three-part process and I truly wonder if this system will actually come to fruition in the full vision of how it was drawn up.
Only time will tell—and speaking of time, watch your speed on your next trek across the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge.