May 20, 2022 - Saying there is a “clear connection” between highway fatalities and seat belt usage, Louisiana Highway Safety Commission Executive Director Lisa Freeman announced that law enforcement agencies across the state will launch a seat belt enforcement campaign.

Click It or Ticket begins Monday and runs through June 5. The LHSC has made grant money available to Louisiana law enforcement agencies to have extra officers patrol for unbelted drivers and passengers. A first-offense ticket for not wearing a seat belt is $50, while subsequent tickets are $75 each.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, traffic fatalities across the country have risen. In Louisiana, the number of people killed in motor vehicle crashes increased by 14 percent in 2020, the last year for which verified numbers are available. Freeman said preliminary statistics from 2021 continue to show a troubling trend.

“In 2020, almost 60 percent of the people who died in vehicle crashes were not wearing a seat belt or were not properly wearing a seat belt,” Freeman said. “There is a clear connection. That is why we have the Click It or Ticket campaign. It is a campaign to save lives.”

Freeman pointed out that the fatality numbers for young drivers, aged 15-24, are even worse.

“Over 66 percent of drivers and occupants in this age group who died in a crash were not wearing a seat belt,” she said. “Just think of how many lives could be saved if everyone took that extra second to buckle up.”

The latest data from LHSC show that 85.7 percent of Louisiana drivers and passengers wear a seat belt. While that number is higher than it was years ago, it is still below the national average of 90.3 percent, Freeman said. “We have work to do, and each and every driver and passenger can be part of that work.”