LOUISIANA — With most schools out for the summer, the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission reminds motorists and parents that more children will be playing near streets and teenage drivers will be spending more time behind the wheel.
Louisiana has more than 700,000 students in public schools and tens of thousands more in private and parochial schools. Most Louisiana schools let students out for the summer in May, meaning children will be engaged in many outdoor and indoor activities in June, July and the first weeks of August.
"This is a good time for parents to speak with their children about safety issues," said Lt. Col. John LeBlanc, executive director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission. "Young children need to be reminded of safety rules when they are outdoors and it's always good to speak to teens about the dangers of drinking and driving and of laws requiring them to always wear their seat belts."
The following are some facts and possible discussion points to help keep out-of-school youths safe:
- Pedestrians should always use sidewalks when they are available. If there is no sidewalk, pedestrians should walk along the side of the road, facing oncoming traffic.
- Ride bicycles on the right, in the same direction as other vehicles. Use bike lanes if they are available and wear a helmet.
- Pedestrians should cross streets at crosswalks or corners.
- Drivers under 21 years of age can be arrested for DWI if their blood alcohol concentration is 0.01 or higher.
- Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 15-20 year-olds.
- May through August are often the deadliest months for young drivers.
- Teenage drivers and passengers are among those least likely to wear seat belts.
- Louisiana requires everyone in a vehicle––regardless of where they sit––to wear seat belts or be in an age-appropriate child safety seat.
- It is illegal for those 17 and under to use cell phones and other electronic devices while driving.
- Texting is illegal for all drivers in Louisiana, regardless of age.