Passengers have the right to speak up for safety

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The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission is celebrating National Passenger Safety Week, a campaign to empower passengers in motor vehicles to speak up for safety.

The campaign, which runs January 21-28, was created in 2022 to encourage passengers to voice concerns to drivers who may be making poor choices. National Passenger Safety Week was launched by We Save Lives and the National Road Safety Foundation, two non-profit groups that work to promote safe driving.

Passengers have the right to question drivers who may be impaired, driving recklessly or who are too drowsy to safely drive. LHSC Executive Director Lisa Freeman said Louisiana is supporting the campaign because passengers should not feel like they are “powerless.”

“When you are a passenger, you are putting your life in a driver’s hands, so it is entirely appropriate to set some ground rules,” Freeman said. “If the driver is distracted, if the driver is being reckless, of if the driver is speeding, you have the right to speak up.”

Freeman said no passenger should ever get in a vehicle with an impaired driver.

“If a driver has been drinking or taking drugs, or even if the driver is too drowsy, offer to drive the car yourself or get a rideshare for both of you,” Freeman said. “Just taking that action could save your life, the driver’s life, and the lives of other people on the road.”

Just as passengers have the right to speak up to drivers, parents of teens should ask questions about their children’s drivers. The campaign suggests that parents ask their children about the age and experience of their driver, if the driver likes to drive fast, if the car is in good working condition and how many other passengers will be in the car.

“Parents should remind their children to always wear their seat belts, and children should likewise encourage parents who are unrestrained to buckle up, as well,” Freeman said. “Communicating safety concerns and good safety practices can be the most important thing passengers do to protect themselves from serious injury in a crash.”

In Louisiana, 649 passengers were killed in motor vehicle crashes from 2018-2022, according to the Center for Analytics and Research in Transportation Safety at LSU. Freeman said those passengers represent about 15% of all highway-related fatalities in Louisiana during those five years.

For more information about National Passenger Safety Week, visit

For more information, contact:

Gregory Fischer

Public Information Officer

DPS – Louisiana Highway Safety Commission

[email protected]

225-925-7858 (work)

225-489-1969 (mobile)

Mark Lambert

Lambert Media


[email protected]

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