Opelousas Drivers Causing Wakes During Flash Flooding [Video]
Earlier this morning (06/22/21) some heavy rains moved through parts of Acadiana and caused some pretty significant flash flooding. Folks in Opelousas saw some flooding in areas they normally don't, and unfortunately proceeded to drive through the water in ways they shouldn't have.
Lana Manuel Soileau in Opelousas went live on her Facebook page to show how much water had accumulated by the Vista Village Shopping Center on Creswell Lane. Soileau is also showcasing the disappointing actions of motorists as they zip through the flooded street.
Now, I certainly understand that sometimes you really need to get where you have to go, rain or shine. However, when you're faced with a situation where pulling over on the side of the road and waiting till the flooding drains isn't an option, please don't barrel through the water.
As you'll see in the video, some of the vehicles are pushing some serious water way too close to these houses and businesses on Cresswell Lane.
If you do carelessly plow through floodwater, you're also breaking Louisiana's "Careless Operation During Flood Conditions Law".
After the video, make sure you read up on this law and, be safe out there Acadiana!
TITLE 32 - Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulation
RS 32:58.1 - Careless operation during flood conditions
The above is the fancy name of the Louisiana law about driving on flooded roadways and putting other people's property or well-being in danger by pushing water onto or into their property.
The "Careless Operation During Flood Conditions Law" in Louisiana states that "Any person operating a motor vehicle on the public roads of this state during flood conditions shall drive in a careful and prudent manner, so as not to create a wake that endangers the life, limb, or property of any person. Failure to drive in such a manner shall constitute careless operation during flood conditions."
So, if you do choose to drive through flooded streets and cause wakes that damage property or worse, you are indeed breaking the law.
In Louisiana, a citation for "Careless Operation of a Vehicle" will cost you at least $300 in fines and court costs according to crescentcitylawfirm.com. Your insurance can also go up as a result of the citation, even if you aren't involved in an accident. It can even affect your credit score.
What about emergency vehicles like police cars and ambulances, utility trucks, and even military vehicles?
Below is the complete law from justia.com.
§58.1. Careless operation during flood conditions
A. Any person operating a motor vehicle on the public roads of this state during flood conditions shall drive in a careful and prudent manner, so as not to create a wake that endangers the life, limb, or property of any person. Failure to drive in such a manner shall constitute careless operation during flood conditions.
B. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that the following persons were operating a motor vehicle in a careful and prudent manner during flood conditions:
(1) Any person operating a vehicle owned or operated by a public utility, whether publicly or privately owned while acting in the course and scope of his employment or agency relating to the operation, repair, or maintenance of a facility, servitude, or any property owned by the utility.
(2) Any person operating a military, law enforcement, or emergency services vehicle while acting in the course and scope of his employment or official duties.
What the law is saying is that military, law enforcement, or emergency service vehicles will be presumed to be operating in a safe manner.
Once I started driving when I was a teenager, my mom used to say to me when I left the house "watch out for the otha' fella". Please, when we're dealing with flooding in Acadiana, "watch out for the otha' fella".