Troopers tout seatbelt use after string of fatal crashes

Staff reports

Louisiana State Police Troop A, which covers Ascension Parish, investigated three fatal vehicle crashes in the greater Baton Rouge area in three days and found all the victims had not been wearing seatbelts.

In other crashes troopers investigated over the last week, the majority of the occupants were properly restrained, according to Trooper Russell Graham.

“In all three fatal vehicle crashes, the deceased were not wearing seat belts,” he said. “Wearing a seat belt is a decision that all vehicle occupants must make.”

More than 65 percent of fatal crashes in 2008 occurred when the occupant was not restrained, according to the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission.

Graham said seatbelt use is higher than it has ever been throughout the state, and the percentage of crashes resulting in serious injuries and deaths is down.

Troopers will continue to enforce the state’s primary seat belt law in an effort to continue the increase of seat belt use, Graham said.

Troop A, along with the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, conducted a checkpoint beginning Saturday night.

Nearly 600 vehicles were screened, and 11 field sobriety tests were conducted.

The results were: one person arrested for an outstanding warrant, two for possession of marijuana, one battery and resisting an officer, four seatbelt violations, nine child restraint citations, two insurance citations, three driving with suspended license citations, six expired motor vehicle inspection citations and three improper turn citations.

The public is encouraged to help keep impaired drivers off the roadways. The State Police number to call is *LSP or *577 on a cell phone.