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Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

NEW ORLEANS -- Fastening your seat beat is the easiest and quickest way to prevent a fatal accident. Unfortunately, five unrestrained drivers or passengers, including an 8-year-old boy, have been killed in the bayou region since June.

According to the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, seat belt use among Louisiana motorists jumped to 82.5 percent in 2013.

But this summer there is tragic evidence that not all drivers are getting the message to click it or ticket.

'The seat belt is going to save your life. It's going to save your family's life,' said Trooper Evan Harrell of Louisiana State Police.

This weekend a 19-year-old unrestrained driver was ejected from his vehicle and killed on Lower Country Drive in Bourg.

Four days earlier, on Aug. 20, a 16-year-old was killed and two other teens injured when the vehicle they were riding in overturned and struck another vehicle.

State troopers say the all of the teens were not wearing seat belts.

On Aug. 2, a 20-year-old Kenner man, who was not wearing a seat belt, was killed on Hwy. 308 south of Thibodaux.

On June 21, a 52-year-old unrestrained Paincourtville man was killed when his vehicle traveled off the road in Assumption Parish.

And on June 16, an 8-year-old child was killed and two other children injured when their vehicle traveled off the road on Hwy. 1 near Napoleonville.

'We've seen a large increase, especially in the Troop C area, with the fatality crashes that we're working where it's a crash, it is a bad crash, but it could have been one where someone could actually walk away from it,' Harrell said.

State police say while not all crashes are survivable, proper use of seat belts can greatly decrease an occupants chance of death or serious injury.

Louisiana law requires every vehicle occupant -- front seat and back seat -- to be properly restrained, day or night.

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