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|Sheriff's Office plans extra patrols for July 4th holiday|
As the long Fourth of July celebration approaches in Concordia Parish, area residents and visitors will be seeing more Concordia Parish Sheriff's Office deputies on the roads and area lakes.
"We'll definitely have extra patrols around the parish on Friday, the 4th of July, and all through the long holiday weekend," stressed Sheriff Randy Maxwell. The annual Lake St. John Flotilla and Blessing of the Fleet is set for Saturday, July 5th, bringing extra highway and boating traffic to the area on that date, as well as on the 4th.
On area lakes, CPSO boat patrols will monitor those operating boats and jet skis, watching primarily for safety violations, especially those involving excessive speed or alcohol use.
Most area residents and visitors will be celebrating throughout the long weekend, but the biggest event slated in the parish is expected to be Saturday's Flotilla.
"We're cautioning everyone to be safe on both the highways and the lakes this weekend," added Maxwell. "One accident is too many. There'll be people driving, boating and swimming all weekend; so we all have to watch out for one another and remember that the top safety hazards are speed and alcohol -- whether it's involving a boat, car or truck."
The Sheriff pointed out too that tickets will be given for those not wearing safety belts or failure to place children in child safety seats. Nearly one in five Americans (or 18% nationally) still fail to regularly wear their safety belts when driving or riding in a motor vehicle, according to a recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Named as those least likely to buckle up: young males, pickup truck drivers and their passengers, people who live in rural areas and nighttime drivers.
"Safety belts clearly save lives," Maxwell emphasized. "But, unfortunately, too many folks still need a tough reminder, so we are going to be out in force buckling down on those who are not buckling up."
Jet Ski rules
The Sheriff further cautioned boaters, including those using personal watercraft. "We want everyone to have a good time over the holiday weekend, but everyone has to cooperate and follow the safety rules to keep both the jet skiers themselves and others unharmed."
The sheriff pointed out that Louisiana law requires that persons born after January 1, 1988, may not operate a motorboat powered by a motor in excess of 10 horsepower unless he or she has successfully completed a boating safety course approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA). These persons must have evidence of completion of the approved course whenever operating such a vessel.
Also, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 16 years to operate a personal watercraft (PWC). However, persons under 16 who are 13 years of age or older on January 1, 2005, may operate a PWC if they have completed an approved boating safety course and carry proof of completion of the course.
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