Law enforcement officials are urging motorists to be safe this Fourth of July as many families will be on the road to visit friends and loved ones.
Minden Police Chief Steve Cropper says the most important thing a driver can do is wear their seatbelt and make sure every passenger in the vehicle is belted in as well.
“With families traveling out of town, I want to stress you need to wear your seatbelt,” he said. “Be smart and have a good time.”
He addressed drinking and driving as well.
“With it being a holiday weekend, everybody likes to get together and celebrate, and you need to stay away from drinking and driving,” he said. “That’s a big issue.”
Louisiana State Trooper Matt Harris, public information officer, says wearing seat belts and driving sober are of utmost importance when inside a vehicle.
“In 2014, 47 percent of the fatal crashes investigated by Troop G involved impaired drivers and 60 percent involved unrestrained motorists,” he said, “so make the right choice this Independence Day. Drive sober and buckle up.”
Cropper says handguns being fired on the Fourth of July has always been a big issue. He warns gun owners that it is illegal to fire a weapon within the city limits of Minden.
“A lot of people think it’s OK to fire a gun up in the air on the Fourth of July,” Cropper said. “They don’t stop to realize that even though that bullet goes up, it’s got to come down somewhere. It is against the law to discharge a firearm inside the city limits, whether it’s the Fourth of July or not.”
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers some tips for drivers for the holiday weekend:
Regular maintenance – Tune-ups, oil changes, battery checks and tire rotations go a long way toward preventing breakdowns before they happen.
Protect child passengers – Research on the effectiveness of child safety seats has found them to reduce fatal injury by 71 percent for infants (younger than 1 year old) and 54 percent for toddlers (up to 4 years old) in passenger cars. If you’re traveling with children, remember the best way to protect them in a car is to put them in the correct child safety seat for their size and age. All children 13 and under should ride in the back seat.
Avoid distraction – Distraction accounts for approximately 10 percent of fatal crashes and 18 percent of injuries – all preventable. Distracted driving can be anything that pulls your attention away from driving, including cell phone use, texting while driving, eating, drinking and using in-vehicle technologies and portable electronic devices.
Observe the “Move Over” law – Move over and change lanes to give safe clearance to law enforcement officers assisting motorists on the side of the road. It’s the law in all 50 states.
For more information on drivers safety, go to the NHTSA website.