The holiday season is upon us. It’s the time of year to sit down with family and friends to share stories, good food and laughter. It is also the time of year when some celebrations will involve an abundance of alcohol, which far too often ends in a motor vehicle wreck, injuries and even fatalities.
The Louisiana State Police’s Troop D is right here in Calcasieu Parish, but the law enforcement unit is responsible for much more than patrols here. Troop D covers more than 5,000 square miles in five parishes: Allen, Beauregard, Cameron, Jefferson Davis and Calcasieu.
While not every resident of Louisiana is a fan of Louisiana State University football (some of us prefer the McNeese State University Cowboys, for example), most are proud of the renowned school’s excellent reputation in scientific research (especially for NASA), teacher training, the humanities, natural history and much more.
Despite the many technological advances in recent years, the human brain is still much better at certain calculations and assessments than the sensors and computers packed into cars with autonomous driving systems. The motor vehicle crash involving a Tesla Model S on a highway last year illustrates the point.
Regular readers of our Lake Charles Legal Blog will recall that a few days ago, we shared a story about Dr. Neil Chaudhary, a traffic safety expert who recently purchased a new vehicle. The distracted driving specialist for the Preusser Research Group (PRG) said he was struck by the large infotainment system in his car’s dashboard.
When most of us buy a new car, we enjoy driving around Lake Charles in a vehicle that’s not only shiny and clean, but with better performance and comfort than our old one. Many of us will also enjoy the new infotainment system in the vehicle’s dash, filled with useful information such as maps and directions, weather, mileage and so on. It also enables drivers to make or receive phone calls and listen to the radio or streaming music.
Everyone who has driven around Lake Charles knows the feeling: you are motoring along when you see two other drivers honking, gesturing and sometimes yelling at each other. Their flash of anger typically dissipates quickly and everyone drives off to their destinations no worse for the wear. But sometimes drivers experience a rush of adrenaline and ire that takes over.
Police said they do not believe that alcohol or drugs played a role in the tragedy. Instead, the violent, head-on interstate crash has been blamed on confusion in an older driver.
Every year, new cars come equipped with innovative features designed to dazzle prospective buyers. Cars can now park themselves, keep track of which lane you’re in and even clean their own windows.
Tractor-trailers are the biggest things rolling down Interstate 10 as it passes through Lake Charles. The big rigs that weigh tens of thousands of pounds more than passenger vehicles are also the most difficult vehicles to maneuver or stop.