The Bogalusa Police Department participating in a “Click it or Ticket” campaign
Published 12:51 pm Monday, May 22, 2023
The Bogalusa Police Department will be participating in a “Click it or Ticket” campaign which is a grant funded by the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission.
BPD will be conducting a Seatbelt Checkpoint in the city limits of Bogalusa from May 22 through June 4, 2023, according to the Bogalusa Police Department’s Facebook page.
Wearing your seat belt is not only the best way to protect yourself in a motor vehicle crash, it is a legal requirement in Louisiana, and extra law enforcement officers are issuing tickets through June 4 to anyone who doesn’t buckle up, the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission announced.
The “Click It or Ticket” campaign, sponsored by the LHSC and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seeks to raise awareness of how wearing seat belts can save hundreds of lives a year in Louisiana, LHSC Executive Director Lisa Freeman said.
“In Louisiana, fewer than 14% of drivers and passengers do not wear their seat belts, but those occupants comprise more than half of the motor vehicle fatalities in this state,” Freeman said. “Numbers don’t lie. Wearing your seat belt dramatically increases your chances of surviving a motor vehicle crash.”
In Louisiana, 86.1% of people in the front seat buckle up, according to a 2022 LHSC observational seat belt survey. Crash statistics from 2021 show 322 of the 615 motor vehicle drivers and passengers who died in crashes were not wearing their seat belts, according to the Center for Analytics and Research in Transportation Safety at LSU.
Freeman said some people believe they do not have to wear a seat belt if they are in the back seat, but Louisiana law mandates that every person in a motor vehicle must wear a lap-and-shoulder seat belt or be in a child safety seat. The observational survey shows only 56.8% of back-seat occupants wear their seat belts.
“From a safety perspective, an unsecured passenger in the back seat can be in more jeopardy during a crash because they become a high-speed projectile, endangering themselves and those in the front seat,” Freeman said. “That is why our law enforcement partners are targeting all occupants, not just drivers, during Click It or Ticket.”
Not wearing a seat belt in Louisiana is a primary enforcement law, meaning a law enforcement officer can pull a vehicle over just for someone not wearing a seat belt. A first-time ticket for not wearing a seat belt costs $50, and subsequent offenses are $75.
“Our goal in this campaign is not to have law enforcement write tickets,” Freeman said. “Our goal is to get everyone to wear a seat belt, and for about 14% of the people who don’t buckle up, we hope the threat of a ticket will get them to change their ways.”
The 86.1% seat belt usage rate in Louisiana has not changed significantly over the past several years, and it continues to lag the nationwide rate of 91.6%. Other takeaways from the 2022 LHSC survey include:
- Women are more likely than men to wear their seat belts, 90.9% versus 82.2%.
- Only 79% of African-American occupants buckle up, compared to 86.1% of all front-seat drivers and passengers.
- Drivers and passengers in the greater New Orleans and Monroe areas had the highest seat belt usage rate, 88.3%.
- Drivers and passengers in the Alexandria region had the lowest usage rate, 73.7%.
- Statewide, pickup truck drivers continue to show the lowest usage rate among all motor vehicle drivers at 78.6%.