Bill approved for high occupancy vehicle lanes, study higher fines for driver who injure or kill motorcyclists and pedestrians

Rep. Terry Landry, D-New Iberia, a former superintendent of State Police, strongly objected to a bill that would eliminate state inspection stickers on Monday. (Photo credit: Madeline Meyer, LSU Manship School News Service)

By: Madeline Meyer, LSU Manship School News Service

Published: May 13, 2019

BATON ROUGE–The House Transportation Committee approved bills Monday to authorize high-occupancy vehicle lanes and study higher fines for drivers who injure or kill motorcyclists and pedestrians.

The high-occupancy lanes, which would be a first for Louisiana, are designated for vehicles with more than one person. The bill, proposed by Senator Dale Erdey, R-Livingston, is intended to reduce traffic overflow by re-labeling lanes with adequate shoulders.

Erdey said one possible place for an HOV lane would be from I-12 in Walker to the I-10 and I-12 split in Baton Rouge. This bottleneck, the committee chairman, Rep. Terry Landry, D-New Iberia, said, causes commuters to get stuck in the corridor between Baton Rouge and Hammond.

Atlanta, Dallas, and Houston all have high-occupancy lanes.

The committee also approved a study that helps motorcyclists and other vulnerable road users.

In 2018, 79 motorcyclists, 163 pedestrians, and 29 cyclists were killed in Louisiana, according to crash data reports provided by LSU. In 2019, motorcycle and cyclist fatalities are projected to increase.

The study, proposed by Rep. Polly Thomas, R-Metairie, will look at ways to increase punishment in an effort to deter accidents.

The current fines, sometimes only $250, are not high enough, legislators contended. “If you are going to cause a fatality,” Rep. Gisclair, “you should not have the privilege to drive again immediately.”

Read more in KALB.

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