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Road sharing debate in Watson

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POSTED: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 - 7:34pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 - 11:08pm

There is a debate brewing in Watson over what should be done to fix issues between drivers and trucks sharing La. 16. Some people working in the area say they're running into a lot of trouble with trucks especially near the intersection of La. 1019 and La. 16.

"People talk about it all the time when they come in here,'I almost got hit or you know that truck blew his horn while I was trying to go around him.' It's constant we always hear stuff about it," Julia Williams, who works at a salon near the intersection, said.

Williams said trying to cross the highway can be a scary experience, because truck's speed and don't stop.

"Here there is no turning lane, so you have to sit off to the side to even get in the parking lot, so they can get around you or they'll rear end you," Williams said. "{I feel} very unsafe they fly they never slow down for anybody. "

Williams explained the problem extends beyond the intersection of La. 16 and La 19. Tuesday morning she was one of many drivers stuck dealing with a four vehicle wreck which included a tractor trailer near La. 16 and Cane Market Road. Louisiana State Police said traffic was clogged up traffic from 7:45 to 10:50 a.m. Troopers said the driver of the Peter Built tractor Trailer, Perry Northern, of Baton Rouge, rear ended the others causing the crash. Troopers say the driver was cited for Careless Operation of a Vehicle.

Others living in the Watson area say the issue isn't the truck drivers.

"The biggest issues I see is passenger cars not paying attention to what they're doing," Richard Miller, Watson resident, said. "These people in the big trucks drive everyday of their life making a living doing it. They have a ton of responsibility and huge insurance premiums they don't want to be involved in accidents. "

Local truck driver and owner president of Razorback Rentals, LLC. Karl Mears agrees.

"I have an issue with the personal vehicles who have know experience as to the dynamics of a commercial vehicle put those commercial vehicles at risks by reducing their breaking distance to causing them to have to do radical or unsafe maneuvers to avoid them," Mears said.

He explained his company hasn't had any issues with the area, but part of the issue for personal drivers around La. 16 and La 19 is the speed limit.

"The highway around 1019 is the speed limit goes from 55 to 45 to 35 if you're coming from the north and most vehicles on the highway don't pay attention to that," Mears said.

Williams said while there haven't been a lot of accidents, she's worried if nothing is done soon more drivers will have run in's with trucks. Williams wants to see more state police and sheriff's deputies come patrol the area, so her and her clients can feel safe.
"Make them slow down, seriously, because they drive through like they own the road," Williams said. "They (law enforcement officers)are not going to be able to stop every single one of them (trucks), but they could sit out here and make most of them slow down anyway."

Mears says if you see any type of vehicle driving recklessly or breaking a traffic law you should call the authorities.

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