Northwest Iowa — Law officers are out in force from now through the end of the month. It’s part of a special Traffic Enforcement Project or “sTEP”.
The Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau or GTSB says crash data shows that passenger vehicle occupants are buckling up more during the day than at nighttime. This mobilization across Iowa and the entire United States is created to heighten seat belt enforcement 24-7, but focused enforcement efforts will take place between the nighttime hours of 6 PM and 5:59 AM due to the significant number of violators and fatal crashes during this time.
The GTSB says that over the last ten years, Iowa has averaged 5.3 traffic fatalities during the three-day Memorial Day weekend. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nearly half of the over 21,000 passenger vehicle occupants who were killed on our nation’s roadways in 2013 were not wearing seat belts. That number jumped to 67 percent for teenage boys aged 13 – 15. Buckling up in the back seat is just as important. Half of all front-seat occupants killed in crashes in 2012 were unrestrained but 61 percent of those killed in back seats were unrestrained. Randy Hunefeld with the GTSB says people need to keep in mind that those fatalities aren’t just statistics; each one is someone’s family member or friend.
The Iowa Department of Public Safety and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau want you to remember that the single most effective way to reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes is to wear a seat belt every day, every trip.