Safety focus needed after fatal wrecks

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, May 11, 2016

A look through’s reader stats, the newspaper’s social media presence and a brief conversation with just about any of our readers will tell you that our community reacts to news of tragic loss.

That is extremely timely right now following a violent 50-hour stretch on our region’s highways that concluded in the early morning hours Monday with the death of 28-year-old Reserve resident Felton Lewis.

Impairment is not a suspected factor in Lewis’ death, but Louisiana State Police indicate the initial investigation led authorities to believe Lewis was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.

A tag line at the end of the State Police report offered a glimpse of what many of us don’t read when we see news of traffic fatalities.

The majority of motorists who die in crashes are not wearing a seat belt, State Police said.

“Despite this fact, some people still choose not to take the three seconds needed to buckle a seat belt. Louisiana law requires motorists to wear a seat belt in every seating position, front seat and back seat, day and night. Wearing a seat belt is the most effective thing vehicle occupants can do to minimize the risk of injury in the event of a crash. Motorists are encouraged to make the smart choice and to always wear their seat belt,” State Police said.

We lose too many family members, friends, neighbors and productive residents each year because of decisions not to buckle. Not all of those who died would have been saved by their seat belts, but many certainly would have; and their family members would be grateful for it.

Our community was also rocked last week by the death of 51-year-old Johnnie Lee Lipscomb of LaPlace.

He passed away shortly before 4 p.m. Friday on Louisiana 44 at West 2nd Street. The preliminary investigation revealed Lipscomb was driving a motorcycle east on Louisiana 44 and lost control in a curve, crossed the centerline and struck a vehicle.

He died as a result of injuries sustained in the wreck.

Police have not released a reason for why the local man lost control of his motorcycle but warned all other riders to take an approved motorcycle safety course.

“These courses teach safe riding practices and help you apply safe riding strategies that can help reduce your chance of injury should a crash occur. Making good choices while riding a motorcycle, such as never driving while distracted, can often mean the difference between life and death,” State Police said.

These are common sense suggestions from authorities, but they certainly lead to safer roadways and healthy riders. Hopefully, these recent tragedies serve as a precursor to greater safety.