WWL>Topics>>7-31-14 2:10pm Angela: on Causeway safety

7-31-14 2:10pm Angela: on Causeway safety

Jul 31, 2014|

Angela talks with Causeway Commission general manager Carlton Dufrechou, NOPD Lt. Anthony Micheu, and state troopers Melissa Matey and Donovan Archote about highway safety.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Do you think Louisiana has the worst drivers. Some people do. Our high insurance rates may be a testimony. That the insurance industry may think so. What do you think of people who drive outrageously fast. Or who you know or texting or eating reading a newspaper it happens. We're going to talk about safety on the road the streets the causeway the highways. With the experts and you we'd love to hear from you about what disturbs you. 260187. Joining us is Carlton did for -- executive director of the causeway. Lieutenant Anthony -- issue commander of the traffic unit. And it repeating. Melissa maybe new world in state trooper. And captain Donovan are showed me commander of -- -- I literally I'm almost overwhelmed because you really are the experts and have you all ever been together this. In the end on Donovan the commando troops be worked together and actually we work well with. All of our our metropolitan. Offices so we do have a great correspondent relationship through traffic incident management senator. We also deal with each other on monthly meeting so we constantly stay on top of our game in our location as well as across the state Louisiana. I can agree whatever -- do you think do you think that we have been drivers. Well. Looking back for 2013 to about 2000 of fourteen we have seen an improvement. But we believe that that improvement has been through our efforts -- enforcement. Look in an occupant protection I impair driving and a speed enforcement. We utilize our resources and strategically placed him and places where there's a high crash rate. And and that's we do we we focus on those three areas that we have seen an improvement bbb is from what area -- 16 parishes. Blackened and Saint Bernard Orleans Jefferson. Saint Charles in Saint John. And. Are you the bridge also or is that an OPG no no no -- we handle all every incident that handles traffic related in the city new loans. Okay. As of to bridge the bridge is the Crescent City connection -- department public safety police and not bear a responsibility lies from. Can turn the gall to talk to. Okay. And then Carlton you have like 24 point some violence. -- when he was long in action and the folks -- the troopers and NO PD officers he's the expert side. I managed to bridge in fortunate she -- -- in all our police officers but. These guys ladies and -- is true experts that we -- extremely. Grateful for all the assistance particularly on the union actually NO PD officers help -- everyone's well when it transiting back and forth and from Yorkshire on average as well as Jefferson Parish and saint Tammany. Connecting you your earlier question about it to safety. Every life is precious and her thing while on a relatively new with this gets them going on my fifty years thing that concerns me the most is. We see people on the causeway that it's not a majority it's actually very small minority. You mentioned texting you mentioned folks at once while we get some calls folks that or reading a newspaper or. This could come out wrong forgive me ladies and maybe put make up just. It's truly silly things and knows that it almost every time -- him nature and so that's the cause them. Which has been very high profile for -- recently in the reports and yes to four in the past two years we've been associated with. These people reaching for a cell phone not paying attention it's a distraction -- they're distracted and now focused. You are meant for now offer our commuters it's just when you connect clump -- clock going the expansion joints and preached it. Refocus and focus for the next 24 -- 24 minutes 24 miles of driving and nothing else. But with our attention spans getting shorter and shorter I really think that is for. And actually this program was based on that last one went over and because it brought to mind that your look now looking at. Raising the rail. Not to make it even safer I did not realize that they were different heights. Going one way. In the undercarriage are virtually 58 years old next month August 30 it it was. Designed at a time when to a two and I was a kid I think they all these other folks were not on the planet -- or where you put. We had -- every Detroit -- aren't low center of gravity vehicles. And particularly in the ninety's and subsequent to we've had a prevalence and receive on average every day about forty to 50% of our vehicles are. Either personal trucks or suvs they'll have a higher center of gravity. They are actually designed to climb over things and the bridge does have occur occur was there originally as a haven of last resort what we lack church shoulders who was designed at a time when. Childers on British particularly long bridges where we're not even considered. And because of that that -- little curve. Those that senate that is a necessity on the bridge we have. -- only at a 150 accidents in about 412 million transits last year. We have 200 breakdowns every month but that's the ones that when Harry's when he wants -- and actually -- but one yesterday afternoon that a when lady -- ran over a little concrete block that got stuck under car fortunately she's able to keep them warm car moving slowly until our police officers and -- assistance folks got to a but that's when everybody on the bridges is focusing on trying to get the first responders there is as quickly as possible because that's the change for the potential rear end. Right that against someone behind her. Distracted exactly rammed right into it and then it catastrophe even with the fast response times we have we have about ten whose. Very bad rear ends on an annual basis is just from you as you said people get distracted. We're not paying attention it's in. It's imperative on at least on the causeway. From that the twenty something minutes that you're transiting the bridge to just focus on driving and try to leave all those electronic devices in the -- Think that is a break from the elect actually I know that it's some of our team. The majority of our commuters do that in we're fortunate to on the brazen. I can't say enough about our police officers and then -- folks but also the commuters they have -- they have an ownership of the average. And -- got 37 cameras strategically placed on the -- traffic control. The best honestly erection of the fellow commuters and look out for each other via the ones that we someone doing something goofy trying to put makeup ownership interest plus. Do you all have that where citizens will call him. Yes ma'am we -- we have that as well as -- be they have a line that you can call but. We see a lot of distracted drought and a lot of aggressive drop an embassy long ones where speed is a factor and everybody's in a hurry to get to the destination so. Besides the road rage issues that we have -- aggressive drop -- And the fact that we have distracted drivers it doesn't mean well for the in the state system so we have to stay on top of it. All the way down the fatalities this year in the city won't anyway we wanna continue to -- that message across that please just let patients know that. Everybody's. A rush to do things and lives so much faster now than in the past. That they seem not to slow down and and just to recuperate from an. But you know you often ask yourself. You know what's another thirty seconds -- what's another minute to correct and that's really what you're talking on and make that light and you know just please. Now are we gonna talk about detecting -- I think that is. An ever growing problem I'm glad to hear the numbers to tell -- don't have there been more pedestrian deaths this year. The pedestrians as far as the protester rate goes. We noticed that we've seen it. Averaged -- 2012 we had. Pedestrians we hit ten pedestrians killed fatal accidents. In 2013. We had a fifteen. And currently we had eight pedestrians unity. But overall. In 2012 we had 38 feel crashes we investigated. In 2013. We went up to 53. In a large number of those alcohol related so we put a big emphasis. The superintendent and our command staff to try to curtail -- drop an and that seemed to be a good result where we have right now with 25 unity however. There's no death nobody's worth getting behind the wheel and drop -- And we -- over 40% of laugh off fatal crashes a year ago were all Colleen it's really close enough -- our efforts to drop and it's. 40%. 40% that's huge burden had to take a break a Tim you hung up but how much of a call back I get a good comment. But stay with -- cause we're to talk about. Safety on the road whether it's right in the city whether it's on the causeway -- on me I -- stay with this week at the experts I'm Angela on WW well. We're back talking about -- highway safety road safety what drives you crazy. And it does drive us crazy and -- we are seeing more road rage and had never heard the -- road raged for ten years ago. Things have evolved as all of us get in a big hurry and we're not thinking and sometimes we're definitely not paying attention. And we've just gotten some interesting information from. And a -- And -- PD lieutenant Anthony the issue about what's happening in the city as far as accidents and fatalities. Let this go over those two of state police captain Donovan our show team. And trooper Melissa maybe talk to me about your saying that the number of fatalities in the state. The numbers down but you still have high incidences of other. Yes yes well we have I we have an increase in DW I arrests we have an increasing seatbelt violators as well as to our restraint violations so. What with those who work with us talking in those things and we seen an increase in those numbers. Is a direct correlation with the -- we see those of going down however in Lafayette and banners we have seen an uptick in the center in in fatalities. And those areas to -- line. I think it might just be that that it's that's the number of people in that area. It's it's -- that the seatbelt violators in that area things like fat suit. We've been working with all the troops across the state and we're we're trying to get that word out there that. -- you've you've got to buckle up each and every time you get in the car even if you're just going around -- corner. Because we know through through statistics -- studies have been done is that most people getting crashes within five or ten minutes of their house. He's got to buckle up every time you get in the car that includes every adult every child. A child seat is no good if it's not installed properly if the child's not buckle properly and of course of the adults not -- properly says. You need to make sure that everybody regardless of seating position is is seat belted and there are a lot of people and I'm done and I've been guilty on just go to the grocery store. Yeah and it's not that far way in India it's not a that's like crashes happen and they usually you don't wake up in the morning and say I'm I'm gonna get it to crash today. So that's why we asked people to make good decisions and good judgments while they're behind the wheel. Stay away from the cellphone stay away from the distractions out you know if if you have to allow -- -- a little bit extra time to get some racy don't have to go above the speed limit -- -- -- And that you'll avoid any potential crashes you also avoid any citations that may be issued to the law is we you can talk on the phone. If it's. You know on your hand or or you can talk on the phone you can you can talk on the phone here in Louisiana we have a text messaging -- here in Louisiana it says you cannot read -- percent. A text message or email on a telecommunication device and also you cannot -- social media like driving. And this past legislative session they just right in there to you where that is also apparent in schools and you're not gonna be allowed to use often devices are in schools -- San that's something that that is just going to as long as you're driving if you're parked just correctly -- park that's fine but an. Drivers that are seventeen and under cannot use cellphones -- on a Bluetooth European streak to nothing like dots do you get. A number of young people. Yeah we have a lot of distracted drop in and we've seen it more and more on in fact one of the -- -- as we head on chef on highway involving. Ironman competitor that was Ronald -- -- it -- we found that that had to have been. He was distracted as a result of the speed -- point impact of that bicycle list. We were able to track the exact speed as well as it is it's a straightaway -- there is no way -- any other observation. Distractions that -- and it wasn't like he was coming around and have been in a row. He just it was a long stretch of roadway there was no way it's a two lane road that he could've not been distracted. In order to run directly in in tobacco and the person who has been charged with vehicular homicide. Correcting him -- would but negligent homicide and he's also been charged with a host of other numerous violations as a result. As he was overwhelming. -- like. Oh my god. Let's -- it takes some of our callers Sam on the West Bank. -- are properly inspect -- some epic duel for thirty more and the captain -- you hear. -- professional driver day and night. And what's frustrating. -- You have resources. Law enforcement department. Batter stretch then. Well that -- are quite. It seems to utilized. Staple issue it's public sector. Out opposite. Going back and forth to reckless driving. Back to -- to the airport and about out. Opening. Traffic. Me simply curtail it to where you can go. Under the back aboard your call. That's never. Been addressed. It's a call it and -- -- -- -- Dan -- this guy's gonna kill or somebody. Call it and the next day -- dispatched. That's what I -- my name first name last name phone number. Driver's license number and I support to a talk the -- You can catch that aren't. Are you. The court. -- You get the -- -- like the license yeah what does not work. This person and a do you have I've never gotten a call. No we've dispatched. To address honestly. Its people war. Well we've got captain -- archived here who's the commander of -- in just your reaction to what he sent me. Well Angela just caught. This first last question. Whenever somebody calls -- we always take your calls very seriously and immediately dispatched our troopers on the road. And we do everything that we can possibly two. Get to that location identified. And that driver gets. Locating he will be excited if that person to complain he has a call back number that person will be called and now with some particular. We will take enforcement action taken -- here's. House and we went when he called me at least we try to stay on film with a collar can tell us exactly step by step they're telling. Past week we can better describe to the troopers responding to where they are what the vehicle. Accident at the situation happened very often team. The price when times that we rely on the public to call -- and -- and -- -- -- situations. What he's saying I don't want to put words in amounts stand but in other words you understand that you can't be everywhere -- don't have ten million troopers. But if he has eight license number continue Walton. Go on the machine and find out who -- -- them and go get him that way if you can't find him on the road I mean if he's willing to go to court. We we could definitely look up that license plea to find out who in fact is that vehicle who was driving that vehicle at the time except probable cause. Things like that are gonna come into play us being able to go to somebody's house to cite them oracle is highly unlikely. And we -- see it we -- probable cause and of course we don't know who was driving that vehicle either. Well like our network and so to -- -- could find someone with all -- -- that doesn't help too much. And that they do brushed me off with a bomb -- look at what. You were veterans -- yeah man they're rushed off to round. And a -- that followed up the next day that the law known as ever. Dispatched and again and once Brokaw. We got this guy you're the witness. Opportunistic. And actual -- so I actually opposite. But what they say. In the future. But actually that which our second on the radio. Well thank our -- -- thank you very much for calling him. Knowing that we take every call seriously and down we. Respond to all all incidents and you know we are limited sometimes with manpower you know and we can't be -- place and everywhere but. We do make the best effort that we can to get that keep the -- on -- phone supervisor is to a very good job. But keep -- caller on the phone and again -- but dispatch that location. Okay we're gonna take another break with editor of the newsroom -- to come back and thank you for early callers hang on -- Matthew we'll be right back. So happy to have Carlton do for show who is head of the on causeway. Lieutenant Anthony may issue who's the commander of the traffic unit with you know PD Melissa made in captain Donovan our show any. With -- be Melissa of course as the and we're talking about we're talking about the the state of affairs on our roads and and listening to some frustrations. But I think with the understanding that. You're not going to like and have a police on every corner you're not -- have a state trooper aura in a petty officer went. When were so frustrated when we see these bad drivers and we do have drivers. Before we got the calls and I do I will that get to you all what have you seen. In the last 4510. Years that has changed beyond texting that concerned -- Well on our on our division we kind of see a lot of people being distracted. As a result of the technology today's technology. All people have. More things they have to do a busy lifestyle. We see a lot more vehicles on a streak and we did. On people taken the roadways motorcycles so there's a lot of things going on. Bicycles to city has become more bike friendly amongst the scene -- with a -- as inventions to try to. To try to make this city more bike friendly and we see a lot more bicycle so -- seen an increase in people in the city. Since Katrina it's it's bigger than I've ever seen it and it's continuously getting bigger so we have to share roadways and we have to be more. Responsible when we get behind a wheel I think a lot of people take their travel privileges. As as as a write in it's really a privilege so they have to really be more responsive to their drive and efforts in and we're here as police officer in law enforcement I know my job. And my people's responsibilities to curtail their driving habits so whenever my people see bad driving habits they are to react in were more vote. Proactive and accident instigation tight unit with. Really good working guys and -- unit and they work hard and me. They produce a lot of things for the city and wants and they're very helpful so we see more people. You know and I'm thinking about all the cameras that Carlton did she has on the on the causeway. Maybe I'm just becoming camera acts differently but maybe that's what's needed to hate to say on our interstates we we do. Have quite a few cameras across the interstate system and people can -- this cameras it because TU. DO TD -- 511 got a late at work 511 LE dot dork I'm sorry they can view this cameras there is strategic locations in highest. Travel cities in New Orleans Lafayette back -- -- and they can look at this traffic cameras their real time soon if there is a crash or if there is something going on. Out of his humors are monitored idea TD. And they can relate to us directly if there is a crash or breakdown or something along or this is somebody being crazy absolutely they they came in in in when you bring up what's going going and with the differences over the last ten to twenty years. Not only do you have -- distractions in the cars but you also have I think a higher number of people that are. Addicted to prescription medication. Of course over the counter and even your illegal drugs that the the prescription medication. Has has greatly risen over the past several years -- he -- that he. Before you -- drunk drivers that come out at night because happy hour parties and things like that we see impaired drivers all day. On the -- -- every day of the week there's one particular anything there and absolutely and a lot of it has to do with prescription drug XOK let's take one of our callers Linda. Thank you for holding on. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Wrapped inkjet -- it -- Can't. Get or. Hit. It. Right at the RIV. At a. I am I doing -- -- your concern and that that's been brought up a lot however that has. Officer motor vehicles handles questions like that unfortunately state police and I don't I don't believe and a PD you're the cause ways going to be able to answer that. They do you have you know somebody cited for particular theme or at their license is suspended for some particular reason. They would be required to get through a driver's education tight class. But that's all put in place by the officer motor vehicle. Should it being -- anger in your opinion. I think that test should be mandated and and especially use skills. Drop as well some skills diminish and certain people. On their -- change -- You never know what to force -- -- testing should be on old -- it's because we've seen -- we have had. Instances where we've had to take a person drops license form. The department of vehicles in perspective from anymore and the law enforcement offices in the community work with. We can do that so we EC's -- it should not be on wheeled vehicle and absolutely could hurt themselves as well some deals. Well will take an act caught take. Restrictive -- drop back to the department vehicles. Is that more based on age or on other kind. It's in the cup tournament basically Egypt could be caps could be. Vision is a lot of things that may be an ailment that would cause him and we'll Weaver. Thank you so much for calling -- Okay thank you Linda. Let's go to Matthew in the French Quarter. -- Bad -- or rather -- young woman who actually that we are checking all too well. I'll probably let out. You know -- outward toward the. Actually. Want it definitely I started. And and I I do understand what he's saying in -- I guess where I was going without is people call us and say it caters there's potential. Impaired driver that's in front of me and we don't tell and to continue to follow on. You know we ask them okay where are you if you if you are going that way and eat your gonna continue to follow that vehicle. Then let us know so we can get a trooper out there and it's it's it's. Step by step where you know he hit causeway and they need it clear -- so on and so forth. If you have to get off on an exit by no means are we gonna ask you to continue to follow this person and in an aggressive -- put yourself in harm that's. That's not what we're gonna ask you did it. You know road rage is rage absolute and you don't wanna be around rage. We're gonna have taken the break but key than Sam stay with us we'll be right back. While we're talking to the people who live every day. With traffic and we're talking to the young Carlton -- for show who runs the causeway. And a PD lieutenant Anthony -- shoot state police captain Donovan are showed in trooper Melissa mating. And I and I guess I just want from you for what what what scares you. You know so much you see so much. -- -- -- Minority of the data fatalities. You know it as a trooper on the road what have the tally happens on that trooper has to go to their loved ones say you know Europe. You're your relative or loved one has just -- in a car accident and that's. -- just that's a very unfortunate part of our business and it's something that -- for likes to do. And and unfortunately happens all too often so far this year since this from January to now we'll stand on. City. 18 fatalities. Since January. In the MS in the chipping area and right it statewide if you look at the fatalities on average we have a fatal crash every twelve hours. If somebody injured in crash every seven and a half minutes. And then there's a property damage crash about every three minutes. Says there's a lot of crashes here in the state Louisiana and what I really want people to understand is it crashes are preventable somebody caused that crash or somebody -- fault. And if they paid attention behind that we all they they maintain their speed limit they were focused on the red they have their seatbelt on they were still were behind the wheel. Good decisions lead T get in place that. We are multitask or. Ourselves to -- And on and you know -- I have to agree with captain -- defective fatal as we're at 25 year to -- just for the city new wallets and of course that's down 21% however. On some of those are preventable and my worst fear is as many fatalities -- -- handled over the years I can tell you right now. This it's the worst feeling when you drop a call a person doesn't even look the same disfigurement and things that such that cause of people could see actual crash scenes of fatigue or fatal accidents. It may curtail people's -- and it is just a little bit and also I'm always fear that I travel -- a fatal and it's one day it's somebody really close to one and oh yeah that may been totally innocent so it's. So victims -- you know. And Carlton you know you. You have something that so visual and it does make the news when these things go over but that has to slow people -- after at least for a little while. It does it just to echo what the troopers and Anthony says that it's. The bottom line is just paying attention driving his privilege. And I think -- -- -- -- -- life is precious and the vehicle is a weapon it's several thousand pound weapon. And unfortunately I myself included before I was with a causeway often I would get -- -- vehicle and I'm rushing from meeting to meeting not really paying attention to where I'm going and all of a sudden I realize that either pass the exit to our partner of getting off on the exit now I don't even know I've got there but. It's imperative that parts not only a causeway any roadway in any major roadway that your you -- -- even going around the corner. That once you get that automobile motorcycle started to just pay attention to where you're going and you either safely. You know we didn't have -- the reality of road rage almost wish cars had a but they couldn't hit an assignment go out slowdown. Didn't hurt. But we would be in trouble. It positively so absolutely let's let's go to quickly to run up -- and Hammond. If you governor's use the issue but I don't complain about. Bright lights and it just seems like there's a lot of drivers out there with headline senator just to chew on. I don't know what percentage of them aren't aware of it or how much it was purposeful but. It's distracting is very it is downright dangerous and in -- buy more tickets and he didn't have that. For putting on your rights when you -- him on. I don't think he's referred to that there's a lot of stock headlights on on particular vehicles that are extremely bright. Honestly how much in light and there are. Rules in and laws against the height of different lights on different vehicles and things like that together absolutely laws or violations on their -- Well I appreciate that call. Bob be your single world thing. -- You don't and that. He grew up watching that -- -- in. What are going to be reference as to text being healthy and strong. In control in and it should mean acting as they did. -- or -- I mean what we let people do. Battle and an outlet to. But fortunately it. It like it. Because. People in Albany. And we'll try out and that's actually been to this. Been out drinking. It definitely is a problem. And that's why we -- today is through education and trying to get the public to understand. You know it can wait. You know that at thirty seconds to a minute if you if you have to text that a bad pull pull over to be safe location. Maybe we should start -- laws and -- the way -- like the contract problems and get it all happened. Did you do it. Means you get thousands of almost -- -- do not that. There -- little expert. For texting and driving an -- I understand what you're saying in -- -- -- there's a severe injury crash or eighth fatality crash we usually do subpoena for records -- if we even suspect -- -- and eat any sort of distraction involved. And it read it it does boil -- education and and some people think that it's not gonna happen to them and that's -- usually goes to people's minds but it does it happens to people that aren't aware of it every single day. And averaged text message if if you look down and look at it takes your eyes off the -- back five seconds or more. And match is that your world -- absolutely crashes while new and you look at somebody's phone. And they -- -- wasn't texting and then look and see. -- Condit if they allow us to see it and that we can take it from them as we have a a subpoena now war. Angela just back on his compensation were I'll ride the bikes for the traffic division as well and we see constantly week we common opponent called early in the week. We we look at wind and there and -- their -- phone searching for a phone number I Texan at that point we vulnerable it but. Like like he said it's very rampant in. You only have so many police office that might run up and -- might -- a lot of times they'll put the phone now but it doesn't matter who once we see that we will take enforcement action it. It it's an educational process. Probably triple. Are. Driving me so -- -- Definitely at least start texting. That's a legislative issue and and you talk to you council personally to representative that's a good idea that's a way to go about it change in through legislation. OK stay with this we're not done we'll be right back. In our last couple minutes I wanna talk talk to our experts about. What they think needs to be done -- -- start with Carlton because. You are looking at ways of making that -- safe that's that's the. The whole mission of the greater -- expressway commissioners together commuters back and -- safe and safely timely every day. With the bridge where it it's a very probably one of the most if not the highly surprised regulated one of the most highly regulated. You know traffic environments in the in the state it is. It's kind of silly to speed on the causeway with a number of cameras with a number of commuters that are. Calling him if it's basically a canyon in on -- -- right if our officers don't. You make the intercept there will be officer from Jefferson Parish deputy on the south you're waiting for you. Are potentially amended or police officer or saint Tammany parish officer on the North -- so it's really. A silly silly place to try to. To drive carelessly the biggest problem we have Angela is just. Folks unfortunately. The tailgating is still out there they would people just not paying attention. And that's the thing if I think everyone says here that could get away from the electronic devices for a little while. Just focus on driving between destination a destination -- you'll get there safely. And for you all it would be more moral law enforcement more awareness as as you said that it can happen to you. It actually can any air crash can happen to you at any point time in eighteen. You know it could be as simple as a fender Bender are it could be as horrific as losing a family member in a crash. And and we just want people to really take control of the we'll make good decisions. Drives -- drive buckled make sure everybody else and harsh buckled. You all the best and I really mean -- I can't thank you well enough for coming and and will do it again because. It is it is what people are talking about and people are frightened and they don't like it. But we have to we have to continue to educate thank you for everything you do we'll be right back.