Seat belt safety campaign ongoing

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The Highway Safety Commission has recently conducted “Click It or Ticket,” a high-profile campaign to save lives and reduce injuries from highway crashes by getting more motorists to buckle up. As part of the campaign, 43 law enforcement agencies worked an estimated 8,500 hours of overtime over the Thanksgiving Holidays dedicated to enforcing Louisiana seat belt laws. The following information was largely obtained from their recent press release on the topic:

Under Louisiana law, drivers and passengers in a moving vehicle are required to wear their seat belts. Wearing seat belts greatly improves the chances of surviving a crash and reduces the severity of injuries. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belts save over 13,000 lives every year.

“Traffic deaths and injuries in Louisiana have been declining for the past three years, following decades of increases,” said Lt. Col. John LeBlanc, executive director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission. “These improvements came about as a result of a number of factors, including increased seat belt use by motorists. Always buckling up is easy to do and could save your life.”

Studies conducted by NHTSA demonstrate that high-profile enforcement campaigns, such as Click It or Ticket, are effective in convincing motorists to wear their seat belts. A 2011 survey found that 77.7 percent of Louisiana motorists had their seat belts fastened, an increase of almost two percentage points over the 75.9 percent rate recorded in 2010. In the mid-1980s, before wearing seat belts became a requirement, only about 12 percent of motorists in Louisiana were buckling up.

Sixty percent of persons killed in crashes in Louisiana in 2010 were reported not wearing a seat belt. About 81 percent of driver fatalities in the state last year involved lack of seat belt use, alcohol or aggressive driving. According to a report compiled by Louisiana State University, the cost of all crashes in Louisiana in 2010 totaled $5.45 billion.

Importantly, drivers should buckle up because failure to do so can serve as a basis for a traffic stop which can lead to the officer identifying other traffic related charges or even more serious offenses such as DWI.

If you are ticketed for a traffic offense or a more serious alcohol related charge, call the offices of Harmon, Smith and Vourvoulias at 504.680.4303 or 504.680.4319.

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By George Vourvoulias

George is a founding member and managing member of Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias L.L.C., a New Orleans law firm. George concentrates his practice in maritime personal injury, construction litigation, personal injury, workers' compensation, medical malpractice, and DUI defense. George Vourvoulias's Google+ Profile

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