It’s one of the simpler things a driver can do to keep himself and his passengers safe while traveling. It’s putting on and using the passenger restraint system, also known as the seat belt. Seat belts do save lives. According to a new study released by the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission more and more residents of our state are heading the message and buckling up.

We’re really encouraged about the seat belt use, particularly among the rear seat passengers. The rate of compliance is 68.9% this year, which is a 14% increase of the rate last year.

Those are the words of LHSC Director Col. John LeBlanc as reported by the Louisiana Radio Network. According to Col LeBlanc and the 2015 Louisiana Seat Belt and Motorcycle Helmet Survey nearly 86% of state residents were riding and driving using helmets or seat belts.

The survey found that young male drivers and African Americans are the two demographic groups that seem to be the most resistant to wearing a seat belt. Col. LeBlanc says the survey results showed that resistance can be deadly.

A very small percentage of the population is making up over half of our fatalities. If we can change the behavior of that population and get them to buckle up, they’d probably survive many of those crashes.

Col. Leblanc says awareness programs in the media and the “Click It or Ticket” campaign have played a large part in remind drivers to buckle up or strap on a helmet anytime they go for a drive.