Under Louisiana law, drivers and passengers in a moving vehicle are required to wear their seat belts. Wearing seat belts greatly improves the chances of surviving a crash and reduces the severity of injuries. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belts save over 13,000 lives every year.
“Traffic deaths and injuries in Louisiana have been declining for the past three years, following decades of increases,” said Lt. Col. John LeBlanc, executive director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission. “These improvements came about as a result of a number of factors, including increased seat belt use by motorists. Always buckling up is easy to do and could save your life.”
Studies conducted by NHTSA demonstrate that high-profile enforcement campaigns, such as Click It or Ticket, are effective in convincing motorists to wear their seat belts. A 2011 survey found that 77.7 percent of Louisiana motorists had their seat belts fastened, an increase of almost two percentage points over the 75.9 percent rate recorded in 2010. In the mid-1980s, before wearing seat belts became a requirement, only about 12 percent of motorists in Louisiana were buckling up.
Sixty percent of persons killed in crashes in Louisiana in 2010 were reported not wearing a seat belt. About 81 percent of driver fatalities in the state last year involved lack of seat belt use, alcohol or aggressive driving. According to a report compiled by Louisiana State University, the cost of all crashes in Louisiana in 2010 totaled $5.45 billion.
“Studies and statistics make it clear that buckling up is very important for your safety,” LeBlanc said. “During a crash, being buckled up helps keep you safe and secure inside your vehicle, whereas being thrown out of a vehicle is almost always deadly.”
The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission provides grants to local law enforcement agencies that participate in Click It or Ticket it and other enforcement programs. The Commission receives most of its funding from NHTSA.