LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — According to crash data by the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, there is a clear connection between highway fatalities and driving irresponsibly.

Crash data reports show during the peak of the pandemic in 2020, motor vehicle crashes increased by 14%.

“In 2020, almost 60% of the people who died in the vehicle crashes were not wearing a seatbelt or were not properly wearing a seatbelt,” Lisa Freeman with the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission explained.

Statewide, in 2020 there were a total of 2,239 crashes, according to Louisiana State Police (LSP). Three-hundred and seventy-nine of the fatalities were due to the driver or passengers not wearing a seatbelt.

“The best resolution we can have is, by all means, stay safe behind that wheel,” Thomas Gossen with LSP Troop I said.

355 of the 2020 crash fatalities were due to driving impaired, which Gossen said does not only apply to alcohol. It also includes drug use.

“If it’s a prescription that does not alleviate you from getting a DWI,” Gossen said. “If it causes you to feel different you are still charged for the impairment.”

Data reports also show fatalities amongst younger people ages 15-24 are even worse.