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Buckle up because it saves lives

Seat belts are the single most effective safety feature ever invented and have helped save thousands of lives, according to the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission.

However, state officials cite statistics indicating one in five Americans failing to regularly wear a seat belt when driving or riding in a motor vehicle.

That sad fact is one of the driving forces behind the ongoing “Click It or Ticket” campaign, which is being pushed by more than 100 Louisiana law enforcement agencies.

By maintaining “Click It or Ticket” high visibility enforcement and awareness, law enforcement officers hope to reduce seat belt fatalities on Louisiana’s roads.

The campaign, which started this week, continues through May 31 and acts as an awareness build up before the summer travel months of June, July and August.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 59 percent of those killed in nighttime vehicle wrecks in 2013 were unrestrained.

That number has led to an increased focus from law enforcement officers on proper seat belt use between the overnight hours of 6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.

“If you ask the family members of those unrestrained people who were killed in crashes, they’ll tell you — they wish their loved ones had buckled up,” St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne said last week.

“The bottom line is that seat belts save lives. If these enforcement crackdowns get people’s attention, and get them to buckle up, then we’ve done our job.”

In St. John the Baptist Parish, Sheriff Mike Tregre stressed motorists can review driving safety tips available at stjohnsheriff.org.

Proper seat belt use saves lives.

Whether River Region motorists follow the law and buckle up because they want to be safer or simply avoid a traffic ticket is immaterial.

Everyone in the vehicle needs to buckle up.