The Fourth of July is a time to recognize the abundance of freedoms we enjoy in America. It is a wonderful time to celebrate with family, friends, food, and fireworks. Tragically, due to drunk driving, it is also one of the deadliest holidays of the year. According to the NHTSA, 812 people died in crashes involving drunk drivers during the Fourth of July holiday period from 2014-2018.
Causeway Police are joining other law enforcement agencies for the “Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving campaign” which runs from July 2, 2020, through July 6, 2020, during the Independence Day holiday. The campaign is coordinated and funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission.
Remember: Driving while impaired puts you, your passengers, and other drivers in danger. To report impaired drivers, commuters are encouraged to dial *27 (*CP) or 504-835-3116 to contact the Causeway and Huey P. Long Police dispatch. Please celebrate the 4th safely.
Although most Americans think that driving while high isn’t that dangerous, according to a recent Gallup poll, drivers who smoke marijuana within a few hours of driving are almost twice as likely to get into an accident as sober drivers.
It’s possible you’ve heard someone state “I’m a better driver when I’m stoned.” That is not true. A major issue with drugged driving is that when a person is high they don’t always realize their judgment is impaired. Marijuana affects reaction time, spatial sense, and perception — all of which are crucial to safe driving. So when a person is driving high, they may end up following another car too closely (and brake too late), make unsafe turns, or misjudge road hazards. Consuming marijuana causes psychomotor impairment and substantial risk to others on the roads. A policy brief by the World Health Organization stated that the influence of cannabis was estimated to be responsible for approximately 8,700 traffic deaths worldwide in 2018.
In the coming years, we may see a move toward the legalization of marijuana. But no matter where you stand, we should all be on the same page when it comes to designating a driver who abstains from ALL mind-altering substances (legal or not).
Living in Louisiana, we have heard the phrase “bless your heart” uttered countless times. We also have used the phrase multiple times ourselves. In the South, where politeness reigns among good people, you have to put your judgments somewhere. It’s not polite to speak ill of people if you were raised right. “Bless your heart” is not really a compliment. It sounds sweet as pie, and sometimes is said affectionately, but it’s most often used because the recipient did something wrong while knowing better.
By now, we are aware of the dangers of texting while driving. Texting and driving is a well-known and deeply researched issue, yet individuals around the world continue to text and drive, resulting in many accidents, injuries, and deaths. In a study conducted in February 2019 by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 69% of drivers from the United States between the ages of 18 and 64 expressed that they use their cell phone while driving. Research shows that it takes just three seconds for a crash to occur once a driver becomes distracted whilst driving and that brake reaction speed can be 18% slower whilst texting and driving.
“Bless your heart” is backhanded snarky phrase that come sugar-coated in politeness. In this instance it is used to point out the foolishness of texting and driving. If you are driving on the Bridge and see a driver texting, please contact Causeway Dispatch (504-835-3116 or *27 on cellular phone).
Since there is improvement in COVID-19’s outlook and a significant increase in testing capacity, Gov. John Bel Edwards stated Louisiana is ready to move to Phase 2 on June 5. That means more businesses will be able to operate at 50 percent capacity. The Governor’s announcement strongly recommends that people continue to practice social distancing, masks for public-facing employees, and increased sanitation. In addition, the state also recommends that businesses consider offering temperature checks before a person can enter and posting the symptoms of COVID-19 outside with a request that symptomatic individuals not enter.
Our commuters are a force multiplier for safety on the Causeway. If you are driving on the Bridge and see a vehicle traveling at an excessive speed, please contact Causeway Dispatch (504-835-3116 or *27 on a cellular phone). Dispatchers operate 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week. Once a call is received, dispatchers will relay the vehicle information to the Police department.
By working together, public health experts advise the spread of Covid-19 can be stopped or greatly reduced. The same can be said for slowing down the rates of speeders on the Causeway Bridge. We are stronger together than we are as individuals.
After having a couple of drinks, some people are under the misconception they are fine to get behind the wheel. Even a small amount of alcohol can affect a person quickly. According to research by the AdCouncil.org, the most common excuse given after an accident resulting from drunk driving is, “I’m just buzzed” or “I only had a few.” Further investigation determined the term “buzzed” could mean anything from feeling slightly tipsy to being falling-down, roaring drunk.
20% of vehicle traffic fatalities are caused by drunk driving. In 2018, 231 children, under the age of 13, were killed due to drunk driving. According to the NHTSA, that same year 10,511 people died in drunk-driving crashes in the United States.
Remember, the driver’s life, and the lives of others on the road, are at risk every time someone gets behind the wheel after drinking. There is no safe way to combine drinking, in any amount, and driving. If you are drinking, don’t drive. Period.
This pandemic has completely changed everyone’s “new normal” in 2020. Whether it is work or school, we are all facing new challenges and making adjustments. The road ahead is very bumpy and we are all dodging potholes.
Causeway Police department is proud to participate in Click It or Ticket. Click It or Ticket is a national program to boost seat belt use and reduce highway fatalities through stepped-up enforcement of seat belt laws, coupled with national and state media campaigns. It takes place each year around Memorial Day.
Unfortunately, we do not know when everything will go back to our old routine. Eventually, the road will smooth out. Either way, it is always a good idea to keep seat belts fastened to ensure the safety of all occupants in this rough terrain.