Later this month, the City of Denham Springs Police Department will participate in a statewide initiative to encourage proper seat belt usage.
Thanks to a grant from the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission (LHSC), the police department will join other agencies across Louisiana in the “Buckle Up Your Truck” campaign to target drivers and passengers who fail to use seat belts in pickup trucks.
The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission is funding the enforcement and awareness campaign that promotes seat belt usage to reduce unrestrained fatalities. More than 100 Louisiana law enforcement agencies will join the “Buckle Up Your Truck” campaign from April 17-28, 2021.
“We are proud to be able to serve and protect our citizens and visitors by participating in this LHSC grant,” the Denham Springs Police Department said in a statement.
Seat belts are the “single most effective safety feature” and have helped save thousands of lives, the police department said.
Louisiana law states that all drivers and passengers, regardless of which seat they occupy in a vehicle, must wear a seat belt or be properly restrained in a child safety seat that is properly installed. The fine for not being properly restrained is $50.
In 2019, observational surveys showed that 87.5 percent of all Louisiana drivers and passengers were wearing their seat belts.
"While this record usage rate is good news for Louisiana, there is much work to be done in moving toward 100 percent compliance," LHSC officials say on their website.
Commission on Law Enforcement statistics show that pickup trucks comprise roughly 25 percent of the vehicle fleet in Louisiana. However, state observation surveys and fatality data show that pickup truck drivers and passengers fall well behind occupants of other kinds of passenger vehicles when it comes to wearing seat belts.
Pick-up trucks are twice as likely to rollover than cars in fatal crashes, according to state figures.
“By maintaining ‘Buckle Up Your Truck’ high visibility enforcement and awareness, we will continue to reduce seat belt fatalities on Louisiana’s roads,” the Denham Springs Police Department said in a statement.