‘Click It’ campaign on watch in St. John

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 23, 2008


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – Anyone thinking about getting into a car in St. John Parish may want to seriously consider buckling up before getting on the road.

The St. John Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with Louisiana State Police and the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, are aggressively implementing the “Click it or Ticket” campaign, a nationwide initiative designed to encourage motorists and vehicle passengers to put on seat belts and properly restrain child passengers.

Lt. Troy Cassioppi, commander of the Sheriff’s Office traffic division, said deputies will be out throughout the parish, in random and numerous locations, actively enforcing the campaign.

“We’ll probably have about three or four a week, and rotate them until the end of the campaign,” said Cassioppi. “If you regularly ride without a seatbelt, we will get you.”

According to Louisiana law, the driver and front seat passengers are required

 to correctly wear a seat belt at all times while the vehicle is in motion. It also says children under the age of 13 must be restrained with a seat belt, or an appropriate child restraint, regardless of seat position.

Cassioppi said the first offenders will be hit with a $25 fine for no seat belt, and a $50 fine for no child restraint. The fine is doubled upon second offense.

“It is an absolutely unnecessary offense,” said Cassioppi. “It is so easy to just buckle up.”

According to the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injury to passenger car occupants by 45 percent. In 2007, 65 percent of the 985 people killed in vehicle crashes in Louisiana were not wearing seat belts. Failure to buckle up contributes to more traffic related fatalities than any other single traffic related behavior, including drunk driving.

Cassioppi said the “Click it or Ticket” campaign will run in St. John Parish from May 19 until June 1. He said the campaign is helped by a $2,500 grant from the Highway safety commission, so that deputies can work overtime.