BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) - Law enforcement agencies across the state will step up enforcement of seat belt laws this weekend as many Louisiana residents hit the road for the long Memorial Day weekend.
Starting today, through June 5, as part of the national "Click It or Ticket" campaign, authorities will be focusing their efforts not only during the day, but especially night time and rear seat use of seat belts.
"The single best thing someone can do to survive a vehicle crash is to use their seat belt," Lt. Colonel John LeBlanc, executive director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission said.
"We are making overtime funds available to law enforcement all over the state to look for violators, especially at night, and we also are targeting rear-seat passengers who are not buckled up", LeBlanc said.
According to LHSC statistics, Louisiana's front seat belt usage rate improved to 85.9 percent in 2015, an all-time high. But the state is still below the national average. Rear seat belt usage drops nearly 20 percentage points comparatively.
In 2014, 61.4 percent of drivers in Louisiana who died in a crash were not wearing a seat belt. The number is nearly the same for occupants killed, 62.5 percent were not wearing seat belts.