CPSO participates in ‘Click it or Ticket’ campaign

Published: May. 22, 2023 at 10:11 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Statistics show Louisiana drivers don’t use seat belts as much as other states. Today, the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office started an effort to change the stats.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 87.5% of Louisiana drivers and passengers wear seatbelts, slightly below the national average of 90.3%.

“I wish we could attain 100% or close to it, so that’s what we’re going to strive for,” CPSO Sheriff Tony Mancuso said. “That’s what this campaign is about, is to try to get people to buckle up; bottom line, we want you to buckle up.”

Having a lower percentage of seat belt users compared to other states means that Louisianans are at a higher risk of serious injury and death due to car and truck accidents.

“It doesn’t take a high speed to be ejected from a car and something bad happen, whether serious injury or even death,” Mancuso said.

Seatbelts have saved Carolyn Cousins life more than once.

“It was after a hurricane and we didn’t think the water was so deep on the highway and we lost control of the wheel, not me, the driver,” Cousins said. “And we were in an accident and had I not had my seatbelt on, I would have been thrown from the car.”

The NHTSA reports that front-seat car passengers wearing a seatbelt reduces the chances of suffering a catastrophic injury by 50% and lowers the chances of a fatal injury by 45%.

“So it’s not that we want to write tickets, but our goal is to make sure the public’s educated and they understand that we want them to stay safe and we want them to go home alive,” Mancuso said.

Violating Louisiana seatbelt laws may be classed as either a primary or secondary offense. That includes using the appropriate type of child restraint system for children. Fines range from $50 to $500.

Failure to secure a child in any type of child restraint system is a primary offense. You may be fined $100 for the first offense, between $250 and $500 for the second offense, and $500 plus court costs for subsequent offenses.

Failure to use an appropriate size or type of child restraint system is a secondary offense. You may be fined up to $100 including fees and court costs, but cannot be cited unless you were stopped for a moving violation.

If you or a passenger are found not to be wearing a seatbelt, you could be fined $50 for the first offense, $75 for the second offense, and $75 plus court fees for all subsequent offenses.

If you frequently travel to other states for business or pleasure, be sure to know that state’s seatbelt laws, too.

“I believe in seat belts; I love my seat belt,” Cousins said.

The NHTSA has called the invention of seat belts the single most effective safety technology in the history of the automobile.