Memorial Day and the traditional beginning of summer are quickly approaching. Summer will bring more gatherings, festivals, graduations and vacations; all requiring travel. Many states, including Iowa, have seen a rise in violators speeding well in excess of 100 mph and not wearing a seat belt. This can lead to disastrous consequences.
Unfortunately, with the increase in summer traffic, there could be a rise in traffic crashes and fatalities. Preliminary data shows last year in Iowa there were five traffic fatalities on Iowa roadways over the Memorial Day weekend; five deaths that may have been prevented. During the month of May in 2020, 2,988 crashes occurred in Iowa. Of those crashes, 167 individuals were injured because they were unbelted. A majority of those injuries could have been prevented if they had been wearing seat belts.
The Click It or Ticket campaign will take place May 24 – June 6, 2021. One of the safest choices drivers and passengers in both the front and back seat can make is to buckle up and doing so, only takes a few seconds. Many Americans understand the lifesaving value of the seat belt – the national use rate was at 90.7% in 2019. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 9,466 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in the United States in 2019. In Iowa the seat belt compliance rate is 95.2%. While this is outstanding, roughly 48% of fatal crashes occurring in 2021 are unbelted.
It is extremely important to understand the potentially fatal consequences of not wearing a seat belt and learn what you can do to make sure you and your family are properly buckled up every time. The Iowa Department of Public Safety and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau want to remind all drivers of the importance of seat belt use. Buckle up; phone down!
Media contact: Genie Sterbenz, GTSB Program Administrator (515) 725-6121.