Governor Edwards, LHSC announces Louisiana record for seat belt usage rate

BATON ROUGE, La. (WVLA) - People in Louisiana are using their seat belts at a record rate, according to a new study commissioned by the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, Governor John Bel Edwards announced on Thursday.

The usage rate for drivers and front-seat passengers in Louisiana is at an all-time high of 87.8%, according to the report prepared by the Preusser Research Group.

That represents nearly a 2 percentage point increase over the previous year and is based on observational surveys that took place across the state in December 2016. The full report can be viewed here.

Governor Edwards said, "The safety of the people of Louisiana is my top concern, and it is always great news to hear that we are setting a personal best record when it comes to increased safety on our roadways.  Put simply, seat belts save lives, and I am happy that more Louisianans are putting this policy into practice for the protection of everyone traveling through and around our state."

LHSC Executive Director Dr. Katara Williams, who has been a vocal advocate of getting more people to buckle up, said she is pleased that message is getting through.

Dr. Williams said, "Wearing your seat belt is the new normal in Louisiana.  Today we celebrate a new record, and we will relentlessly pursue our ultimate goal of 100% usage."

Drivers and front-seat passengers who use their seat belts are 45% more likely to survive an automobile crash, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Pickup truck, van and SUV drivers and passengers who buckle up are 60% more likely to survive a crash.

The Louisiana report shows the increase is mostly attributable to more African-American and Hispanic drivers and passengers buckling up.

The usage rate for African-Americans jumped from 78.9% to 82.6%, and Hispanic usage rates rose from 81% to 91.6%. White drivers and passengers showed modest usage increases, from 88.9% to 89.7%.

Usage rates were up in each region of the state, except for the Alexandria and Monroe areas, which showed decreases of 6.5 and 1.0 percentage points, respectively.

The Lake Charles, New Orleans and Lafayette regions had increases of 6.0, 4.2 and 3.9 percentage points, respectively.



 


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