COVINGTON, La. (WGNO) — Louisiana law enforcement agencies are actively participating in the National Click It or Ticket campaign from May 24-June 6.
During this two-week initiative, the New Orleans Police Department, St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office and Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office have all pledged to increase deputy patrols in neighborhoods and on local highways to conduct extra seat belt enforcement and checkpoints.
According to a STPSO media release, the extra manpower is being provided for this initiative by the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, which also helps fund extra DWI patrols and underage alcohol enforcement throughout the year.
Sheriff Randy Smith reminds parents that children under the age of 13 must ride in the rear seat and that children must always be secured in age and size-appropriate child safety seats.
“Seatbelts and child safety seats save lives,” said Sheriff Smith. “We want people to know that we are out there every day looking for drivers who are not wearing their seatbelts and children who are not properly restrained.
“We hope the added enforcement this funding provides will encourage people to buckle up.”
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2019 there were 9,466 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in the United States.
In that same year, 55 percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed at night (6 p.m.–5:59 a.m.) were not wearing their seat belts.
That’s why one focus of the Click It or Ticket campaign and the Border to Border kickoff event is nighttime enforcement.
“With an increased number of cars flooding the roads due to the upcoming Memorial Day holiday, it’s imperative we get the word out about the importance of seat belt safety,” said NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson.
“In 2019, we lost too many community members because they did not buckle their seat belts. Almost twice as many males were killed in crashes as compared to females, with lower belt use rates, too.
“Of the males killed in crashes in 2019, more than half (51%) were unrestrained. For females killed in crashes, 40 percent were not buckled up.”