During the recent Fourth of July weekend, the Louisiana State Police investigated six crashes that resulted in six deaths. Every person who suffered fatal injuries in those crashes was unrestrained and ejected from the vehicle.

Those deaths underscore the need for wider use of seat belts in Louisiana. A study released last year found that almost 76 percent of Louisiana drivers and front-seat passengers used seat belts, but that usage rate falls short of the 83 percent who buckle up nationwide.

Seat belts dramatically increase survival rates in car crashes, so it’s important that Louisiana drivers do a better job of buckling up before they get behind the wheel.

We hope motorists view the recent traffic deaths involving unbelted drivers as cautionary examples of what can happen when they fail to buckle up before they take to the road.

We encourage drivers and passengers to use seat belts this summer and, indeed, throughout the year.