Causeway has new, edgy message to distracted drivers

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Updated: Apr. 4, 2018 at 6:22 PM CDT
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(WVUE) - Causeway Police investigated 54 crashes on the bridge since the beginning of the year. That's 54 wrecks in a 90-day period.

"It concerns us every time we see someone out there operating haphazardly," said Causeway General Manager Carlton Dufrechou.

Video from Causeway cameras show the accidents unfolding. In the past three months, two people died and 10 others were injured.

"Our response time is terrific. It's less than four minutes, but about a third of the accidents we see are due to broken-down vehicles," Dufrechou said.

Dufrechou said before officers can respond to the broken-down vehicles, distracted drivers often get into accidents.

"We had one two days ago. We got a call of a vehicle broken down on the bridge. My guys were en route to it, and 30 seconds later, we get a call of a tow car crash," Dufrechou said.

He said the number of crashes so far this year are up, considering there were 184 crashes in all of last year. In the past three months, Causeway Police responded to 797 calls for service on the bridge. Dufrechou said they've tried awareness campaigns in the past.

"We tried message boards in the past with messages like, drive safely, buckle up, don't follow so close and that kind of stuff. Frankly, it's not getting though," Dufrechou said.

They decided to do something different with a message board that will really capture a driver's attention.

Their message right now is, "Get your head out of your apps #JustDrive."

"We are trying to get people to re-focus and get their heads where they should be - on the roadway," Dufrechou said.

If you think that's clever, there's more to come. Dufrechou said every Wednesday the public will get an update on the number of crashes on the bridge and a different catchy message.

"It's all about safety. Safety is all about paying attention, and that's where we're getting a little edgy," he said.

He said texting while driving is a major problem.

"The national data indicates that any time any of us take our eyes off the road, look down at the phone, and then look up, it's about five seconds of not paying attention," Dufrechou said.

He said in those five seconds, a lot can go wrong.

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