We should all know by now that checking your phone while hitting the road can have disastrous effects but why do some continue this potential devastating habit? The Center for Internet and Technology studies discovered that receiving a text message lights up the same area of the brain stimulated by highly addictive drugs. When drivers hear their cell phone ding, our brain feels compelled to check it. A notification on your phone releases a brain chemical called dopamine into the body’s system. This affects the reward part of the brain. As the dopamine is released, it also shuts down the part of the brain that has to do with judgment and reasoning.
However, this is no excuse for continuing to check your phone while driving. When a person is behind the wheel their most important job is to focus on the task of driving. The only line of defense against distracted driving is the choices each driver makes behind the wheel. If you know someone is driving, don’t tempt them by calling or texting them. If you’re driving, don’t respond to calls or text messages until you have pulled over to a safe location.
The first of 12 long-awaited safety shoulders on the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway — the first major additions to the bridge in decades — could be completed within days, according to Carlton Dufrechou, general manager of the Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission. After that, new segments should be added about every six weeks, he said.
A flat tire or blowout on the Causeway Bridge can be chaotic. Due to the Bridge’s original design, all disabled vehicles must be moved out of the roadway to prevent rear-end accidents. Although the Causeway’s response time is less than four minutes, a stalled vehicle is susceptible to being rear-ended by a distracted driver. Out of the 170 accidents on the Causeway in 2018, 57 were rear-ends into disabled vehicles.
To cut down on the number of rear-end accidents, the Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission is constructing safety bays / segmented shoulders midway between each of the existing crossovers on the Causeway Bridge. When construction is completed, the Bridge will have six safety bays / segmented shoulders on both spans (Southbound and Northbound). The first safety bays / segmented shoulders will be open to the public soon. These segmented shoulders will significantly increase emergency stopping areas for all commuters.
If you have a flat tire or blowout on the Causeway Bridge, as King Julian sings in the movie Madagascar, you got to move it….move it. If you, or another vehicle, are in distress on the Bridge, please contact Causeway Police by dialing 504-835-3116. We’ll be there to help you in minutes.
Most people have their cell phone with them at all times and automatically look at it when they hear the chime notification. Sending a response text has also become a habit. In doing so, texting while driving has become a large issue in today’s society by taking a driver’s attention away from the road.
Many people think, “it’s only a few seconds”. This assumption is erroneous. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), sending or reading a text causes drivers to take their eyes off the road for five seconds. While this doesn’t seem like much, this is enough time for a driver traveling at 55 miles per hour to drive the distance equal to the length of a football field. Doing this is the equivalent of driving that distance with closed eyes, which most drivers would never willingly do.
The truth of the matter is that texting while driving results in 400% more time with a driver’s eyes off the road, seriously increasing the chances of a crash. Furthermore, teens that text while driving are proven to veer out of the lane during 10% of their total drive time, as their eyes are off the road and they aren’t paying attention to the direction of their vehicle.
It only takes one second for a crash to happen. Prevent a crash and avoid becoming a statistic. Let’s keep our eyes on the road and hands on the steering wheel.