Shortly after 7:00 a.m. on September 18, 2019, a two vehicle wreck involving a big rig occurred on US Highway 61 or Airline Highway in St. John the Baptist Parish. The fatal big rig wreck took the life of an unbelted 27-year-old resident of Reserve, Louisiana.
The 27-year-old was driving a 2018 Chevrolet Cruze southbound on Terre Haute Road in an attempt to cross Airline Highway. A 2020 Kenworth 18-wheeler was traveling southbound on Airline Highway. As the Chevrolet Cruze crossed Airline Highway, it was impacted on the passenger side by the big rig. The 27-year-old driver of the Chevrolet Cruze was not restrained and sustained severe injuries in the wreck. She died at a local hospital.
While the Louisiana Highway Regulatory Act requires the use of seat-belts, La.R.S. 32:295.1(E) provides that in any action to recover damages arising out of the ownership, common maintenance, or operation of a motor vehicle, failure to wear a seat-belt shall not be considered evidence of comparative negligence. Failure to wear a seat-belt shall not be admitted to mitigate damages.