Nov. 16, 2023 - With heavy traffic expected this Thanksgiving holiday, the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission announced extra law enforcement officers will be patrolling the roads and watching for seat belt violations during the statewide Click It or Ticket campaign.
Beginning Saturday, November 18, the officers will be looking specifically for drivers and passengers who are not wearing seat belts. A first-offense violation is $50, and subsequent violations are $75.
LHSC Executive Director Lisa Freeman said the Click It or Ticket campaign is a serious reminder that “everyone needs to buckle up.”
Louisiana’s passenger safety law “applies to everyone in a car, truck or van, whether they are driving, in the back seat, or in the third-row bench of an SUV,” Freeman said. “It is not only the best way to protect yourself in a crash, it also is the law in Louisiana that all occupants must wear a seat belt.”
Louisiana law also states children must be properly restrained in the back seat in a car safety seat or booster seat appropriate for their age and size. Children who have outgrown a booster seat but are younger than 13 must be buckled up in the back seat, if one is available.
Experts expect more vehicles will be on the road this Thanksgiving season across the country. The AAA forecasts that more than 49 million people will be on the roads for the holiday this year, a 1.7% increase over 2022 and the highest holiday road volume since the pandemic. The day before Thanksgiving is expected to be the busiest traffic day.
More traffic means more chances there will be crashes, Freeman said.
“Last Thanksgiving, Louisiana had the fewest combined vehicle crash fatalities and injuries since at least 2005,” she said, citing statistics from the Center for Analytics and Research in Transportation Safety at LSU. “With traffic picking up this year, it’s more important than ever to buckle up, every seat, every time.”
Reports show that at least 55% of adults killed in a car, truck, or van crash in Louisiana in 2022 were not properly wearing their seat belts. Freeman pointed out that the latest LHSC observational survey shows fewer than 15% of people in Louisiana go unbuckled.
“Numbers don’t lie,” Freeman said. “The data show that most vehicle occupants in Louisiana do wear seat belts. However, it’s the less than 15% of drivers and passengers who don’t wear seat belts who make up the majority of fatalities in Louisiana. The obvious conclusion is that wearing your seat belt greatly increases your chance of surviving a crash.”
The Click It or Ticket campaign begins Saturday, November 18 and concludes Saturday, November 25.