BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY) — Starting on Saturday, April 23, Louisiana law enforcement will be targeting pickup truck drivers for seat belt offenses for a week, according to the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission (LHSC).

The fine for not wearing a seat belt in Louisiana is $50, and subsequent offenses carry a $75 fine plus court costs.

“We know that seat belts save lives, and we know that pickup truck occupants are less likely to wear seat belts,” LHSC Executive Director Lisa Freeman said. “Why would anyone risk their own safety and a $50.00 fine when wearing a seat belt can save your life, and it’s free?”

According to a 2019 LHSC seat belt survey of Louisiana drivers, only 82.3% of front-seat occupants of pickup trucks wear their seat belts, compared to 87.5% of all front-seat drivers and passengers. Only 62.2% of back-seat pickup truck passengers wear their seat belts.

Pickup trucks are more likely to roll over in a crash, making the occupants more likely to be seriously injured or killed. Wearing a seat belt “dramatically increases your chances of surviving a rollover crash,” Freeman said. “Law enforcement officers can and will pull you over if you or any passenger is not wearing a seat belt – it is a primary offense. And, the law applies to everyone, including those in the back seats.”

The Buckle Up in Your Truck enforcement wave will be in effect across Louisiana through Saturday, April 30, said LHSC officials. Most of the enforcement effort will be through regular police, deputy, and trooper patrols, but some law enforcement agencies may set up checkpoints to ensure compliance with the seat belt law.