Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Birds are a familiar and welcomed sight along the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. Brown pelicans glide close to the Bridge. Flocks of brown boobies travel alongside and beneath the Causeway. Also large frenzied swarms of purple martins appear at each end of the bridge up in January through November (peak travel in June and July). Last year, a study performed by biologists Anders Hedenström and Susanne Åkesson concluded that bigger flocks travel faster, no matter what species they belong to. They often fly at speeds of 40 miles or more per hour, and in a dense group the space between them may be only a bit more than their body length. Yet they can make astonishingly sharp turns in unison. Imagine doing unrehearsed and evasive maneuvers, with all of the other commuters around you on the bridge. It would be impossible.

Unlike birds, speeding is unsurprisingly a major factor in Louisiana car crashes. A driver who is speeding increases both the chance of being in a crash and also the chance that someone in that person’s car will be seriously injured or killed. Besides alcohol and not using seat belts, 29 percent of crash deaths in the U.S. are caused by speeding. A vehicle maybe speeding on the Causeway Bridge to get to work or an event on but, in reality, it only shaves off minutes of the commute. Speeding isn’t worth the chance of a fatality or facing vehicular manslaughter charges. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), controlling vehicle’s speed can prevent crashes and reduce the impact when they do occur. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) concludes speeding killed 9,717 people, accounting for more than a quarter (26%) of all traffic fatalities in 2017.

Speeding is for the birds!