LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Starting Monday, law enforcement will be cracking down on drivers who aren't wearing seat belts under the 'Click it or Ticket' initiative.
"Police agencies from around the country are participating," said Louisiana State Police (LSP) Sergeant James Anderson. "It's to promote awareness and the importance of seat belt use and to also issue citations to those who choose not to wear a seat belt."
The initiative has already taken effect in other states around the country, but according to Sergeant Anderson, Southwest Louisiana is in need of stricter seat belt enforcement.
"Lake Charles is tied with Alexandria for the lowest usage rage in the state at 74.8 percent. That means that not quite 3 out of 4 people wear a seat belt when they get behind the wheel of a vehicle."
One of the goals of the initiative is to get a 100-percent usage rate and for those who don't comply, Anderson says 1st offenders receive a 25 dollar fine, 2nd offenders- a 50 dollar fine and 3 time and subsequent offenders- a 100 dollar fine, plus court costs.
According to Louisiana state law, it's required that occupants in any seating position to wear a seat belt. So far this year, in the cases that Troop D of the LSP have investigated, there have been 9 fatalities due to the lack of wearing seat belts.
Sergeant Anderson hopes that through this initiative, residents will learn quickly, the importance of seat belt safety.
'Click it or Ticket' runs from May 21 through June 3, however Sergeant Anderson says that Troop D and other enforcement agencies are committed to enforcing seat belt safety and child restraint violations far past the end of the initiative.