Seat belt bill can save lives, reduce injuries

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A bill authored by State Rep. Nickie Monica of LaPlace would require passengers in both the front and back seats of a vehicle to wear seat belts and, if passed, could save lives.

Despite the fact it’s the law for persons in the front seat to wear a seat belt, the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission says only about 75 percent of them do … and that, coupled with no requirement for back-seat passengers to buckle up, is a deadly statistic.

Commission statistics show that better than 92 percent of last year’s 699 highway fatalities were the result of someone deciding to not wear a seat belt in either the front or back seat. We can’t help but wonder how many of those 645 lost souls might have survived otherwise?

Yes, we know the arguments.

• It’s my vehicle and government shouldn’t be able to tell me what do do

• What if I’ve got a seat belt on, am in a wreck and become trapped because of it?

Those are both so old, they carry no weight any more. They may have at one time, but not today.

There are those who are hopeful Monica’s Bill (HB 499) would help reduce the number of back seat fatalities. There are others who hope it would be just one more reminder to those in the front seat that seat belt use is not optional and increase the percentage a bit.

Either way, the savings of lives outweighs the negatives … and if save just one life, then it was worth it.