NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - A tourist was left with a bad impression of New Orleans after he says he and his colleagues were ticketed in the French Quarter for not wearing a seat belt in their Uber. He says they had completed their ride and we’re about to get out of the car when they were approached by the officer.
Boston attorney Adam Fine traveled to New Orleans for a convention. But, he says he and his colleagues ended up missing one of their meetings Thursday for something he says he’s never encountered before in his life.
“It was frustrating but I just think from the standpoint of a tourist, we’re in a, it’s like the equivalent of a taxi cab, it’s just not something that you expect, we obviously didn’t know the laws but the fact that they couldn’t have a more efficient way to do it and that’s kind of my taste of New Orleans, wasn’t super pleasant,” said Fine.
Fine says he and his colleagues had completed their Uber ride and were about to get out at Iberville and Dauphine Streets in the French Quarter around 5:45 p.m. when an officer knocked on the window.
“He’s like you’re not wearing a seat belt, you’re not wearing a seat belt, you’re not wearing a seat belt, and basically being from Massachusetts it was just new because in Massachusetts you can only site the driver, plus, we we’re explaining to him that we we’re getting out of the vehicle so naturally we wouldn’t have our seat belts on,” said Fine.
Fine says they waited in the car for close to an hour as the officer wrote the tickets. He says that’s why they missed their meeting. Fine’s citation says he was ticketed for “no seat belt in use.”
“We basically weren’t free to leave and just waited for him to complete his writing of the tickets,” said Fine. “From my perspective, I just thought it was an example of bad policy, from economic development, you know, tourism standpoint. I’m planning on challenging the ticket and I just think it’s an incredibly inefficient use of police resources and plus it just left a bad taste in our mouths. I just think they should reevaluate the effectiveness of the policy.”
We reached out to the city and the NOPD for comment about this story. The NOPD says it is doing stepped up seat belt enforcement this Summer. They tell us the effort is funded by a grant from the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission and that passengers can be ticketed if they are observed not wearing seat belts. The NOPD also says anyone who gets a ticket has the right to fight it in traffic court.