State police urges holiday seat belt use

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 23, 2001

LAPLACE – Summer time fun springs into action as families get out and about this Memorial Day. Swimming, boating, picnics, day trips and all sorts of other adventures will have families packing into their vehicles and hitting the road. That’s where the fun for some families will stop. In 1999, 32,061 drivers and passengers were killed in traffic accidents, according to the National Safety Council. An estimated 9,553 victims could have survived if they had been wearing their seat belts. The high number makes traffic crashes the number-one killer of children and a leading cause of death in teen-agers and adults. With so many families climbing in their car for an eventful Memorial Day weekend, tens of thousands of law enforcement officers across the country are cracking down on seat belt violators in an effort to reduce the high accident casualty rate. “The U.S. ranks behind virtually every other developed country when it comes to seat belt use, and never has mediocrity been so lethal for a nation,” said Alan McMillian, president of the National Safety Council. “We are killing kids and destroying families on our highways, and that is why this national seat belt mobilization is so important – we know it gets people to buckle up and saves lives,” he added. In addition, the National Safety Council released the state rankings for seat belt enforcement; Louisiana ranked 26th, with a C minus. Now through Memorial Day, law enforcement personnel will be strictly enforcing the seat belt laws across the country. Last Memorial Day weekend there were five fatal accidents in the local area. None of the five were wearing a seatbelt, noted the Louisiana State Police. The state police also noted that there were 142 DWI arrests, 1,703 speeding violations issued, 723 seat belt violations and 35 alcohol related crashes. The state police will again be on the highway to protect those traveling this weekend. With so many people on the road, be sure to obey all rules and regulations to make your weekend as safe as possible.