A fatal crash has claimed the life of a driver not wearing a seat belt.

The latest fatal crash story involves an Arnaudville man driving through St. Landry Parish early Thursday morning. According to Louisiana State Police, 42-year-old Franklin Joseph Martin was traveling west on Louisiana Highway 686 near Lynn Robin Road when his car ran off the right side of the road, struck an embankment and a culvert, then came to rest partially submerged.

Louisiana Highway 686 near Lynn Robin Road, google maps
Louisiana Highway 686 near Lynn Robin Road, google maps

Martin was pronounced dead at the scene by the St. Landry Parish Coroner's Office and Troopers say he was unrestrained. Routine toxicology samples have also been taken in for analysis.

We write these stories much too often in the news business. Wearing your seat belt is one of the best ways one can avoid dying in a crash. From minor to serious crashes, seat belts many times have either lessened the severity of injuries or have been the difference between life and death for countless people.

Seatbelt (Photo courtesy of Department for Transport via Getty Images)
Seatbelt (Photo courtesy of Department for Transport via Getty Images)

Here are some sobering stats from 2017 provided by Breaux Bridge Police Chief Rollie Cantu in a recent press release that show the importance of seat belts:

  • 54% of drivers killed in Louisiana were not wearing safety belts
  • 63% of passengers killed were not restrained
  • 50% of children below age 6 killed in crashes were not buckled properly in child seats.

This statement from State Police serves as a great reminder of why having an "always" mindset could be the difference between life and death:

The difference between good outcomes and fatal outcomes on Louisiana roadways begins and ends with good decisions. The most impactful of those good decisions begins with an “always” mindset: always designate a sober driver, always focus on the task of driving, and always wear a seat belt regardless of seating position. While not all crashes are survivable, taking simple precautions such as these can often mean the difference between life and death.

This is the 26th death from the 23 fatal crashes investigated by Troop I in 2022.

Please buckle up.

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