Louisiana State Police Troop D participated in the Southwest Louisiana "Click-It or Ticket" kickoff news conference, Friday morning, in Lake Charles. This year's "Click-It or Ticket" campaign is from May 15- June 4.

Law enforcement officers across the country, including Louisiana, will place special emphasis on seat belt and child restraint enforcement, to save lives.

Other agencies participating in Friday's news conference include the Beauregard Parish Sheriff's Office, Beauregard Parish District Attorney’s Office, DeRidder Police Department, Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office and Calcasieu Parish District Attorney’s Office.

"Click-It or Ticket" is a nationwide awareness and enforcement campaign designed to encourage seat belt use through a combination of education and increased enforcement which takes place annually around the Memorial Day holiday period.

This year’s campaign is from May 15th through June 4th. Overtime funding is being provided to participating law enforcement agencies by the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission.

Why is wearing a seat belt necessary?

• Seat belts are the single most effective vehicle safety feature ever invented and have helped save tens of thousands of lives.

• Sadly, the majority of vehicle occupants who lose their lives in crashes on Louisiana highways are not wearing a seat belt. In 2014, the percentage was 62.5 percent.

• The lowest compliance rates exist for pickup truck drivers, back seat occupants, and at night.

Louisiana State Law

Louisiana law requires every occupant of a motor vehicle to be properly restrained, day and night. This includes the back seat. It is a primary offense if you fail to comply.

2016 Seat Belt Usage Rates

• Louisiana Average: 87.8 percent, which is up 1.9 percent

• Statewide usage has set a record

• SWLA region: 91.7 percent, which is up 6 percent

• When broken down by region, this is the highest seat belt usage rate in the state.

Problems we continue to see--

• Seat belts being worn behind the back or under the arm in violation of state law.

• Fewer pickup truck drivers wear a seat belt. (statewide compliance 82.9 percent).

• Fewer rear seat occupants wear seat belts than front seat occupants (regional compliance for the back seat is 81.8 percent).

• Vehicle occupants who fail to wear a seatbelt at night.

• Children not being properly secured in age or weight appropriate restraint.

◦ Several entities in Southwest Louisiana offer free child passenger safety seat checks performed by nationally certified technicians including Louisiana State Police Troop D, Lake Charles City Police, Sulphur Police Department, Beauregard Parish Sheriff’s Office, Ward One Fire Department (Moss Bluff), and IMCAL (Southwest Louisiana Safety Coalition). Again, this is a free service.