More Iowans buckling up - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

More Iowans buckling up

DES MOINES (KWWL) - The number of Iowans who wear seat belts continues to increase. The preliminary results of Iowa's 2009 statewide seat belt survey show that 93.1% of people comply with the seatbelt law, improving from the 2008 figure of 92.9%.

"Putting on a seat belt is such an easy thing to do, and that simple action saves thousands of lives," said Iowa Department of Public Safety Commissioner Eugene Meyer. "I'm proud the State of Iowa continues to be a leader in the Midwest and the nation in seat belt use. I also want to commend local law enforcement agencies for their commitment to seat belt enforcement." The increase over 2008 translates to about 5,000 additional Iowans now wearing their safety belts.

The survey was administered by the Iowa Department of Transportation's Office of Driver Services and conducted by the Iowa State Patrol. It involves 100 sites around the state and includes more than 11,000 observations of drivers and front seat passengers.

Colonel Patrick J. Hoye, Chief of the Iowa State Patrol, said the success of enforcement projects like Safe Saturdays, held across the state during the month of June, means fewer people died in motor vehicle crashes. State Troopers increased their seat belt citations 51 percent in June of 2009 over those written in June, 2008. "State Troopers have concentrated their efforts statewide on speeding, impaired driving and safety belt enforcement. When we see the numbers improve year after year, we know that the time and resources invested are well spent."

Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for all persons ages 5 through 34 in the United States. Last year alone, a total of 411 persons died in Iowa traffic crashes while just over 37,300 died nationally. The US figure represents a 47 year low while Iowa's fatality total was the 3rd lowest since WWII according to officials at the Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau.

Online Producer: Jason Mortvedt

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