Ask The Advocate: 'I'd go back if I were you'

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- A DOTD electronic message board on I-10 eastbound in Port Allen, nearing the approach to the Mississippi River Bridge, keeps motorists abreast of pertinent road conditions. The signs can post traffic and weather updates, amber alerts and other information.
Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- A DOTD electronic message board on I-10 eastbound in Port Allen, nearing the approach to the Mississippi River Bridge, keeps motorists abreast of pertinent road conditions. The signs can post traffic and weather updates, amber alerts and other information.

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Why doesn’t DOTD put an electronic road condition sign on U.S. 190? On two recent Sundays in returning to Baton Rouge from False River, I got stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic while getting on the Interstate 10 East ramp on La. 415. The causes were car accidents. The first time it took me 1 hour and 10 minutes to get to the top of the bridge before I could take the Highland Road exit. If I had known about the wrecks I could have taken the old bridge and gone home via a different route.

Answer by Lauren Lee, public information officer with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development:

With 81 electronic message boards statewide, there is an upcoming project that will include the installation of five additional electronic message boards in the Baton Rouge area: One at U.S. 190 East and La. 415 in West Baton Rouge Parish, three along I-10, and one on I-12.

These signs will help to alert drivers of traffic conditions ahead, so an alternate route may be taken. Additionally, an electronic message board is currently in place on eastbound U.S. 190 in Opelousas.

Additionally, for the latest updates in real-time traffic and road conditions, DOTD has the 511 Traveler Information System. The system can be accessed by dialing 511 and saying the route or region about which you are seeking information.

Out-of-state travelers can call 1-888-ROAD-511 (1-888-762-3511). Travelers can also access this information by visiting the 511 Traveler Information Web site at www.511la.org .

Another option is for motorists to utilize the new “Way to Geaux” application to receive real-time, around-the-clock travel alerts. The hands-free, eyes-free smartphone application can be downloaded on any iPhone or Android device by visiting the iTunes App Store or Google Play.

Leaving children home alone

At what age is it legally OK to leave children alone at their house or apartment for a few minutes while the parent is running some errands? I’ve heard 12.

Answer by Cpl. Don Coppola Jr., a spokesman for the Baton Rouge Police Department:

As per LRS 14:93.2.1, child desertion “is the intentional or criminally negligent exposure of a child under the age of 10 years, by a person who has the care, custody, or control of the child, to a hazard or danger against which the child cannot reasonably be expected to protect himself, or the desertion or abandonment of such child, knowing or having reason to believe that the child could be exposed to such hazard or danger”.

So to answer your question you can leave a child home alone who’s 10 years of age or older. With that in mind, the parent or guardian over the child is still responsible for the safety of the child, along with whatever actions are taken by the child while alone.