WHAT’S UP WEDNESDAY: 05/25/22

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Every day, about 32 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes — that’s one person every 45 minutes. In 2020, 11,654 people died in alcohol-impaired driving traffic deaths — a 14% increase from 2019. These deaths were all preventable.

How alcohol affects driving ability

Alcohol is a substance that reduces the function of the brain, impairing thinking, reasoning and muscle coordination. All these abilities are essential to operating a vehicle safely.

As alcohol levels rise in a person’s system, the negative effects on the central nervous system increase. Alcohol is absorbed directly through the walls of the stomach and small intestine. Then it passes into the bloodstream where it accumulates until it is metabolized by the liver. A person’s alcohol level is measured by the weight of the alcohol in a certain volume of blood. This is called Blood Alcohol Concentration, or BAC. At a BAC of .08 grams of alcohol per deciliter (g/dL) of blood, crash risk increases exponentially. Because of this risk, it’s illegal in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher, except in Utah where the BAC limit is .05.

However, even a small amount of alcohol can affect driving ability. In 2020, there were 2,041 people killed in alcohol-related crashes where a driver had a BAC of .01 to .07 g/dL.

BAC is measured with a breathalyzer, a device that measures the amount of alcohol in a driver’s breath, or by a blood test.

Risk Factors

Driving after drinking is deadly. Yet it still continues to happen across the United States. If you drive while impaired, you could get arrested, or worse — be involved in a traffic crash that causes serious injury or death.

About 30% of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers (with BACs of .08 g/dL or higher). In 2020, there were 11,654 people killed in these preventable crashes. In fact, on average over the 10-year period from 2011-2020, about 10,500 people died every year in drunk-driving crashes.

In every state, it’s illegal to drive drunk, yet one person was killed in a drunk-driving crash every 45 minutes in the United States in 2020.

Consequences

Driving a vehicle while impaired is a dangerous crime. Tough enforcement of drunk-driving laws has been a major factor in reducing drunk-driving deaths since the 1980s. Charges range from misdemeanors to felony offenses, and penalties for impaired driving can include driver’s license revocation, fines, and jail time. It’s also extremely expensive. A first-time offense can cost the driver upwards of $10,000 in fines and legal fees.

Many states require offenders to install ignition interlock devices at the driver’s own expense. An ignition interlock device is a breath test device connected to a vehicle’s ignition. The vehicle cannot be operated unless the driver blows into the interlock and has a BAC below a pre-set low limit, usually .02 g/dL. NHTSA strongly supports the expansion of ignition interlocks as a proven technology that keeps drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel

Responsible behavior

BEING A RESPONSIBLE DRIVER IS SIMPLE: IF YOU ARE DRINKING, DO NOT DRIVE.

  1. Plan your safe ride home before you start the party, choose a non-drinking friend as a designated driver.
  2. If someone you know has been drinking, do not let that person get behind the wheel. Take their keys and help them arrange a sober ride home.
  3. If you drink, do not drive for any reason. Call a taxi, a ride-hailing service, or a sober friend.
  4. If you’re hosting a party where alcohol will be served, make sure all guests leave with a sober driver.
  5. Always wear your seat belt — it’s your best defense against impaired drivers.

If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact local law enforcement. Your actions could help save someone’s life.

 


WHAT’S UP WEDNESDAY: 05/18/22

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

An emergency situation (flat tire, breakdown, etc.) on the Causeway Bridge can be scary and intimidating. By following the tips listed below, the situation will be less frightening.

  • Stay Calm
    •  Although it is common to lose your composure during a crisis, by doing so it is easy to forget the appropriate actions to take. Staying calm will allow you to think more clearly in the situation.
  • Activate your hazard lights
    • This will alert other motorists of your vehicle’s trouble. It will also give notice to the commuters that you are having difficulties.
  • Attempt to drive to the nearest Crossover/Shoulder while traveling in the right lane
    • The Emergency Stopping Areas are located about 2 miles apart. Even if your tire is flat and you are driving on the rim, it is safer to drive to the Crossover than to stop in the road and risk being rear ended at high speed.
  • If your vehicle cannot make it, pull over in the right lane
    • Try to drive as close to the right railing as possible. Once stopped, the driver and all occupants should exit to the rear of the vehicle and stand on the right side curb facing oncoming traffic.
  • Call Causeway Police while waiting on the curb
    • While waiting on the right side curb, if you have your cell phone, call *CP (*27) or 504-835-3116. If you do not have a cell phone, do not worry, another motorist or the Causeway Camera department will spot you and alert the Causeway Police.
  • Wave oncoming traffic into the left lane
    • Whether you are behind your vehicle on the right curb or waiting by the Call Box, wave the approaching traffic into the left lane to help other motorists avoid colliding with your vehicle.
  • Wait for the Causeway Police or Emergency personnel to arrive
    • The Causeway Police or the Motorist Assistance Patrol (MAP) will arrive within minutes to help with your emergency.

While driving on the Causeway Bridge, PLEASE STAY ALERT. Emergency situations happen unexpectedly. One of the main causes of accidents on the Bridge is drivers being inattentive.


What to do if you see an emergency situation on the Causeway Bridge

  1. Stay Calm and stay focused on where you are going.
  2. Get into the other lane to avoid striking the disabled vehicle.
  3. Call *CP (*27) or 504-835-3116 to alert the Causeway Police of the emergency.

How to check on incidents, accidents, and weather before you travel the Causeway Bridge

  1. Check thecauseway.us website.
  2. Sign up for traffic alerts on the website (thecauseway.us).
  3. Tune into WWL Radio (870 AM) or Causeway Radio (1700 AM).