As experienced New Orleans personal injury attorneys, we have seen the significant difference that simply wearing a seatbelt can make in a motor vehicle collision. Wearing a seatbelt can literally be a life or death decision. As a result, there has been a great push on both the state and national level to increase seatbelt use among motorists over the past several years.
This month, the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission released the results of an observation study conducted in June and July regarding seatbelt use by drivers and front seat passengers. The study found that statewide, 77.7 percent of these individuals used seat belts. This number marked a return to the previous high mark set in 2005 and is the highest compliance rate since the annual study began 25 years ago. The compliance rate last year was 75.9 percent.
Unfortunately, while vastly improved from the twelve percent seatbelt use rate among Louisiana motorists in the mid-1980s, Louisiana’s numbers remain significantly below the 2010 national average of 85 percent. Here in New Orleans, seatbelt use ranked near the bottom of the state at only 74.9 percent.
The study also found a measureable variance in seatbelt use among occupants of different types of vehicles. Front seat occupants of vans – at 85.5 percent – were the most likely to comply with seatbelt use, while pickup truck occupants were the least likely at only 70 percent.
The results of a similar study documenting seatbelt use among rear seat passengers is expected to be released later this year.
There is no question that using a seatbelt greatly reduces the risk of suffering a personal injury in a motor vehicle accident. We encourage all motorists to buckle up.
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, we would be happy to answer your questions. Please feel free to call us at 504-581-6411 or 855-GERTLER.