Editorial: Louisiana drivers getting the message

Motorists in Louisiana are getting the message.

The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission says an annual survey to determine how many people buckle up shows the number has

increased to 82.5 percent of drivers and front-seat passengers.

That’s up from 79.3 percent from a year earlier.

In Lake Charles, that number is even better.

Our city leads the way in seatbelt use at 91 percent. Lagging behind us is Houma at 85.5 percent, Shreveport at 83.6 percent

and Alexandria at 83.4 percent.

Lt. Col. John LeBlanc, executive director of the safety commission, said the nationwide enforcement campaign “Click It or

Ticket” has helped boost compliance rates in the state.

“This is great news that we hope will help save lives and reduce the number and severity of injuries from crashes on Louisiana’s

highways and streets,” LeBlanc said. “Buckling up every time you drive or ride in a vehicle is one of the most simple and

effective steps you can take on a daily basis to remain safe.”

Last year, 56 percent of people killed in Louisiana crashes were not wearing seatbelts.

Those deaths could possibly have been prevented.

Seat belts don’t just save lives, they can also reduce the severity of injuries in a crash.

LeBlanc said seatbelts reduce the risk of fatal injuries to passengers by 45 percent and the risk of moderate to critical

injuries by 50 percent.

In Louisiana, officers can stop and ticket people not wearing seatbelts, and in 2009, the Legislature expanded Louisiana’s

seatbelt law to include back-seat passengers.

It takes only a few seconds to buckle up, so click it and be the voice that encourages your friends to wear their seatbelt.

 

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This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Mike Jones, Jim Beam, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.