DOTD Secretary Wilson addresses trucker safety after 18-wheeler ride along I-10 for National Truck Driver Appreciation Week
Friday, September 16, 2016 at 2:11:45 PM

BATON ROUGE, La.- Today, after riding in an 18-wheeler from Lafayette to Baton Rouge, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D., held a press conference at DOTD’s headquarters to promote safety and celebrate National Truck Driver Appreciation Week (NTDAW).

“Safety is everyone’s responsibility. It doesn’t start just with truckers; it doesn’t end just with truckers, but it’s everyone’s responsibility,” Wilson said.

During his ride to Baton Rouge Friday, Wilson noted his observations and reminded motorists to use signals when switching lanes and to put away all distractions, such as electronic devices, while operating a vehicle. He also spoke about how he is working with statewide trucking leaders, and partners such as Lamar Advertising, Quality Transport and Dupre Logistics, to maximize safety for all truckers who travel through the state.

“If we can keep a driver safe, if we can keep people getting home to their families in a safe environment, then we have succeeded as a Department,” he added.

Cathy F. Gautreaux, executive director of the Louisiana Motor Transport Association, said, “Today is history in the making. I’ve been representing the trucking industry for over 30 years, and this is the first time statewide elected officials —from the Governor and especially to the Secretary of the Department of Transportation—have fully embraced the trucking industry as a full partner, not only in transportation but economic development and improving safety on the highways. I am truly grateful and look forward to our continued partnership.”

As a heavily traveled freight corridor, improvements to enhance safety and reduce congestion on Interstate 10 are already taking shape with the expansion of sections of I-10 in Lafayette, St. Martin, East Baton Rouge and Ascension parishes.

DOTD will receive $60 million in FASTLANE grant funding to complete a nearly 15-mile pavement replacement and lane addition project between the I-10/ I-49 interchange and the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge in Lafayette and St. Martin parishes. The Department will also receive an addition $40 million due to its ability to spend all of its allocated federal dollars, which will widen seven miles of I-10 between Highland Road in East Baton Rouge Parish and LA 73 in Ascension Parish.

Coinciding with NTDAW, DOTD continued to highlight its emphasis on multimodal transportation as well as the Department’s need to have additional transportation investment as the Governor’s Task Force on Transportation Infrastructure Investment held regional meetings in Shreveport and Lake Charles earlier this week.

In June 2016, Governor John Bel Edwards announced the formation of the Task Force on Transportation Infrastructure Investment. The Task Force is working to find investment solutions to address transportation needs in Louisiana and will ultimately issue a recommendation to the Governor for legislative action in 2017.

According to the American Trucking Associations’ website, there are 3.5 million truck drivers in America. To learn more about the industry or NTDAW, click here.