The state's largest ever seat belt campaign targeting pickup truck drivers starts today. It's called "Buckle Up in your Truck."
Lt. Col. John LeBlanc, with the Highway Safety Commission says every year surveys find pickup truck drivers have the lowest level of seat belt use of all other vehicles.
"Pickup Trucks represent only about 25% of the vehicles in Louisiana but they account for about 66% of the unbelted drivers that were killed in 2012," LeBlanc says.
LeBlanc says this campaign will increase police patrols and checkpoints dedicated to checking for motorists wearing their seat belts, especially in pickup trucks. He says they are optimistic that this push will help save lives.
"We know that people in pickup trucks sometimes don't wear their belts because they tend to feel a little bit safer because the vehicle sits higher up. Because of that increase height they are also two times more likely to roll over in a crash and if you're not buckled up you could easily be thrown out or thrown around in the vehicle," LeBlanc says.
A 2013 observation study found that 76% of pickup drivers and front seat passengers were bucked up, which is significantly below the statewide average. LeBlanc says this campaign will last until May 7th but their enforcement efforts will continue beyond that.
"After May 7th it is going to continue. They know we have a problem with pickup trucks so we're going to try to use different tools like outreach and enforcement to try to convince drivers of pickup trucks to buckle up," LeBlanc says.