There are plenty of safety changes happening along the Causeway with more to come.
After serving 11 years with the Causeway Police Department, Chief Nick Congemi has announced his retirement.
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.
The Causeway Police Chief has retired.
Nick Congemi, the chief of the police force that patrols the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway and Huey P. Long Bridge, unexpectedly retired Tuesday.
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.
Using a seat belt is the best defense in a vehicle crash. Since a crash can occur at any time, it is very important to buckle your seat belt regardless of the traveling distance. According to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHSA), seat belts saved 14,955 lives involved in accidents nationwide. An additional 2,549 lives would have been saved in 2017 if everyone involved would have buckled up.
Here are the top 5 things you should know about the importance of using a seat belt:
1. Using a seat belt will keep you from being ejected from the vehicle in a crash.
2. Airbags were designed to work with your seat belt not replace it.
3. Seat belts must be used correctly to be effective. If you are unsure of proper placement, guidelines can be found online.
4. The fit of the seat belt matters. Extensions are sold if you need a roomier seat belt. If you have an older or classic car with lap belts only, check with the vehicle manufacturer about retrofitting your vehicle with a seat belt that meets today’s standards.
5. Pregnant women are advised to buckle their seat belt throughout their pregnancy.
Using your seat belt is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself in an accident. Make it a habit to buckle up every time.
Self-driving or autonomous cars have gone from science fiction in the past to a reality in our future. A lot of people think of the technology as being all or nothing. Either the car is a self-driving vehicle or not. However, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has broken autonomous vehicles down into these five levels according to their capability:
- Level 0 is no automation involved. The driver is responsible for everything.
- Level 1 is driver assistance. The car helps with the acceleration. It also assists with brake or steering.
- Level 2 is partial assistance. The car assists with acceleration. Braking and steering.
- Level 3 is conditional automation. The car assists with for a short period of time. The driver can turn their attention away from the road momentarily.
- Level 4 is high automation. It requires no attention from the driver unless desired.
- Level 5 is full automation.
Although it may be awhile before Level 5 self-driving or autonomous cars are prevalent on America’s highways, some of the features are currently available and used in many vehicles on the road today. Cruise control, blind spot detection, parking assistance, forward collision warning systems, and steering assistance are all features that lead us down the automation road to self-driving. For the present however, let’s all keep our on the road and pay attention while driving always.