With grant funding the Wilson Police Department received from the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, officers have been enforcing the nationwide Click It or Ticket campaign — a high-visibility enforcement and public awareness effort aimed at saving lives by getting more people to wear their seat belts.
Though the campaign began May 23 and ends Sunday, law enforcement agencies throughout the Felicianas say seat belts must be worn always, not only during the campaign, as Louisiana has a “primary enforcement” law for seat belts, and at any time, officers can stop and ticket a driver whom they spot not complying with the law.
Motorists refusing to wear their seat belts should beware of seat belt laws, Wilson police Sgt. Tammy Garig said.
State law requires all vehicle occupants to wear seat belts, even in the rear seats, and requires children younger than 13 to wear a seat belt and/or be restrained by an age-appropriate child safety seat regardless of seating position.
According to a news release, the Click It or Ticket campaign works, and seat belt use is among the major factors responsible for declines in crash deaths nationwide and in Louisiana.
A total of 703 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in Louisiana in 2013, compared with 824 people five years earlier, the release states.
Grants from the state commission to conduct extra patrols during the Click It or Ticket campaign provide for overtime pay for deputies, police officers and state troopers conducting saturation patrols and checkpoints focused on seat belt usage, drunk driving and other violations.