Iowa Department of Public Safety
215 East 7th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319
www.dps.state.ia.us

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For immediate release: Alex Murphy
  Public Information Officer
Investigative Operations
Iowa Department of Public Safety
Monday, February 7, 2011 amurphy@dps.state.ia.us
(515) 443-3014 - cell
(515) 725-6189 - office

IN FIRST MONTH OF 2011, 76% OF MOTOR VEHICLE FATALITIES WERE UNBELTED

Des Moines, IOWA --- As motorists were carefully making their way across Iowa on snow and ice covered roads this wintry January, state information analysts were keeping a close eye on those drivers who didn’t make it to their final destination.  Preliminary data indicates 76% of motorists who died in crashes in January weren’t wearing a safety belt.  That’s significantly higher than the 5 year annual average which is just less than 32%.

“There’s no question,” said Larry Sauer of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau.  “Seatbelts save lives.  That’s why the fatality total this month is so unfortunate.  If these folks had taken a few moments to buckle up, they might be home with their families right now.”

Fortunately, as many as 93% of Iowans do buckle up when they travel the interstates and highways.  During the month of January, preliminary crash report data indicates this simple action, buckling up, saved 21 lives during crashes on our roadways.  And in all of 2010, the number of lives saved by safety belts reached 184!

Iowa State Patrol Colonel Patrick Hoye commented, “As snow continues to fall this winter, the importance of wearing your safety belt should be even clearer.  It would be tragic to continue this unbelted fatality trend into February.”

 

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