From May 22 through June 4, state and local law enforcement agencies across the nation, as well as Iowa, will be stepping up seat belt enforcement. Memorial Day weekend kicks off the busy summer season with many more families on the roads.
Iowa’s seat belt usage rate of 94 percent is one of the highest in the nation, but the remaining six percent of vehicle occupants account for approximately half of all traffic fatalities. Seat belts are the single most effective way to survive in a crash.
The Department of Public Safety and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau would like to bust some seat belt myths taken from 2015 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
• Pickup trucks will not protect you in a crash if you are not wearing a seat belt. Sixty percent of pickup truck occupants who were killed were not buckled. That compares to 42 percent of passenger car occupants.
• Where you sit in the vehicle does not matter. Forty-seven percent of all front-seat passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes were not wearing seat belts, but 57 percent of those killed in back seats were unrestrained.
• Country driving is not safer. Nationwide, there were 12,797 traffic fatalities on rural roads compared to 8,262 on urban streets. Fifty percent of those killed in rural crashes were unbuckled compared to 46 percent in urban crashes.
• Young drivers are not invincible and they are dying at a disproportionate rate because they are not wearing seat belts, especially young males.
Remember, the habit of buckling up is as simple as turning on a light switch. It should be an automatic action for you and everyone in your vehicle.
Day and night, front seat and back, “Click It or Ticket!” You just may save a life.