The sting of receiving a traffic ticket on the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway will remain the same, but the process of writing and processing citations may soon become more efficient on the 24-mile span. The Causeway Commission on Wednesday (Aug. 22) voted to seek proposals from firms that could supply hardware and software needed to implement an electronic ticketing system. Officers would still issue the tickets, but instead of using an old-fashioned ticket book, they would swipe an offending motorist’s driver’s license on a device to obtain their information and then punch in the appropriate information about the offense. The device would spit out a paper ticket for the motorist and send the information electronically to Causeway office staff and perhaps even to the courts, bridge General Manager Carlton Dufrechou said. “The real advantage to us would be not only the time-savings in the field, but our records folks often have problems deciphering the rapid writing of our officers and have to go back to the officers to clarify. This would all be electronic.”
The laborious process of data entry would be eliminated under such a system, which could lead to staff reductions, Dufrechou said. Staffers currently have to manually enter data for the 1,100 or so citations written monthly on and near the bridge. Those tickets have to be physically delivered to courts in Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes. Dufrechou said he was not yet sure how much an e-ticket system would cost, versus the potential efficiencies and cost savings. He said Causeway Police Chief Nick Congemi last year suggested that an e-ticket system be explored. Bridge officials said they have received assistance from St. Tammany Parish District Attorney Warren Montgomery’s office in looking into the new system. E-ticket systems are already being used by New Orleans Police, the Gretna Police Department and some Louisiana State Police troops, Dufrechou said.
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