Iowa Department of Public Safety
215 East 7th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319

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For immediate release: Alex Murphy
  Public Information Officer
Investigative Operations
Iowa Department of Public Safety
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
(515) 443-3014 - cell
(515) 725-6189 - office


Des Moines, IOWA --- Today, staff with the Iowa State Patrol and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau decorated and lit the “Tree of Life.”  Each white light on the tree represents the life of an Iowa motorist, safely making his or her way across the state. During the month of December and continuing through the New Year’s Holiday, the Department of Public Safety will keep a close eye on the number of traffic fatalities on Iowa roadways.  When a motorist dies, a white light on the Tree of Life will be replaced with a green light.  A red light will be used for an alcohol-related fatality.  Will it be a white Christmas?  Or will the “Tree of Life” be speckled with red and green? 

“Accidents do happen.  But the vast majority of crashes on Iowa roadways are preventable.  I’m dreaming of a white Christmas; aren’t you?  Iowans should do everything they can to keep a fatality from occurring this Holiday season,” said Captain Curt Henderson of the Iowa State Patrol.

Last year between December 1st and January 1st, there were 7,184 crashes on Iowa roadways that resulted in 24 fatalities.  Seven of those fatalities were alcohol related.  There are many things you can do to avoid being a statistic this year:

  • Celebrate the holidays responsibly.  Never drink and drive.
  • When bad weather strikes, play it safe and avoid travel.  Just snuggle in with hot cocoa!
  • If you must travel: drive slow, drive defensively and heed all road condition and closure alerts.
  • Don’t let friends or family drive drunk or in bad weather.  Instead, invite them to spend the night because nothing spreads holiday cheer like great hospitality!

Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau Chief Larry Sauer commented, “A whole month free from motor vehicle fatalities might be an unrealistic goal.  But if we could reduce the average death toll by just 10, that’s 10 more families that won’t be grieving the loss of a loved one this holiday.”

Tree of Life Photograph Tree of Life Photograph
Iowa State Troopers Decorating the "Tree of Life" Captain Curt Henderson and Larry Sauer talk about
the importance of being a responsible motorist during
the Holidays. Never Drink and Drive!


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