LHSC seat belt campaign runs through June 1

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South

BATON ROUGE - Officers from law enforcement agencies throughout Louisiana are mobilizing through June 1 to ticket unbuckled motorists in an effort to increase seat belt use and save lives.

The initiative is part of the “Click It or Ticket” campaign, an annual drive of intensified enforcement of Louisiana’s seat belt law.

Louisiana's seat belt use increased to 82.5 percent of drivers and front-seat passengers in 2013 but continues to lag behind the nationwide average by several percentage points.

"Lack of seat belt use is a leading cause of deaths and serious injuries from crashes in Louisiana,” said Lt. Col. John LeBlanc. “It’s why Louisiana law requires all motorists to use seat belts and age-appropriate safety seats,"

The two-week enforcement wave includes Memorial Day, traditionally among the worse holidays for traffic deaths in Louisiana. In 2012, 11 people were killed and 495 were injured in crashes over the Memorial Day holiday, second in fatalities only to the five-day Thanksgiving holiday when 13 people died in crashes.

The Click It or Ticket campaign includes intensified patrols, checkpoints and other enforcement tactics.

In 2013, 82.5 percent of drivers and front seat passengers were wearing seat belts, the highest number ever recorded in Louisiana. Only about 12 percent of motorists statewide buckled up prior to enactment of the state's first seat belt law in the mid-1980s.

During the 2013 Click It or Ticket campaign, officers issued 15,614 seat belt, and 1,089 child passenger citations. A total of 65,236 seat belt, and 4,831 child passenger safety citations were issued throughout the year.