Memorial Day and the traditional beginning of summer are quickly approaching. Unfortunately, with the increase in summer traffic, there will be a rise in traffic crashes and fatalities. Last year there were four traffic deaths on Iowa roadways over the Memorial Day weekend; four deaths that may have been prevented. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2017 there were 10,076 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes nationwide. A majority of those lives could have been saved if the had been wearing their seat belts. The national Click It or Ticket campaign will take place May 20th through June 2nd. State and local law agencies across the state will be stepping up seat belt enforcement with the goal of protecting everyone on the roadways. These departments include the Forest City, Lake Mills, Garner, Britt, Clear Lake, and Mason City Police Departments along with all area county sheriff’s offices.
There are some typical seat belt myths. For example, there seems to be a misconception among those who drive and ride in pickup trucks that their large vehicles will protect them better in a crash. 59% of the pickup truck occupants who were killed in 2017 were not buckled compared to 42% of car occupants.
Another myth is the seating position in a vehicle. Too many people believe they are safe in the back seat unrestrained. However 46% of all front seat passengers killed in 2017 crashes were unbelted, but 56% of those killed in the back seat were unbelted.
Area residents may think the those who live in rural areas have lower chances of being in a crash, but in 2017, there were 12,78 passenger vehicle fatalities in rural locations compared to 10,316 in urban locations. Of those fatalities, 49% of those killed in rural locations were not wearing their seat belts compared to 44% in urban locations.