Thanksgiving is a time for people to give thanks for the things that bring them joy. Some might even give thanks for the things that keep them safe. Seat belts are proven to save lives in traffic accidents; yet, too many people in Louisiana fail to use them.
That reality played out tragically over the Thanksgiving holiday in the state this year. Numbers from the Louisiana State Police are available regarding motor vehicle accident trends during the week of the holiday. The following are some of the facts:
- Louisiana officials investigated 13 fatal traffic accidents.
- There were 14 traffic fatalities in the state.
- Two people died in a Lake Charles car accident; neither victim was wearing a seat belt.
- Louisiana drivers and passengers historically use their seat belts less than others in the nation.
- In 2011, about 42 percent of traffic accidents were the result of driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
The above points identify that Louisiana drivers need to stop using alcohol and drugs and then getting behind the wheel. There's never a good excuse to drive while impaired. Doing so is a fatal decision that affects unsuspecting people every year, including children.
Also, drivers and passengers in the state need to recognize seat belts as the life savers that they are - required life savers. Using a seat belt is not an option in Louisiana. All people in a vehicle are legally required to be properly restrained.
But even if someone makes the foolish decision to not wear her seat belt, that mistake doesn't take away from the responsibility of drivers to safely share the road. Seat belts wouldn't be as crucial if it weren't for the recklessness that too many drivers exhibit.
Source: Donaldsonville Chief, "Louisiana State Police investigate 13 fatal crashes over Thanksgiving week," Nov. 30, 2012