Memorial Day weekend and the beginning of summer marks an increase in car crashes and fatalities. The Henry County Sheriff’s Office along with state and local law enforcement officers across Iowa will be stepping up seat belt enforcement with the goal of protecting residents and their families.
The national Click It or Ticket campaign will take place from May 20 to June 2. The Iowa Department of Public Safety and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau want to remind all drivers of the importance of seat belt use.
Last year, there were four traffic fatalities on Iowa roadways over Memorial Day weekend that could have been prevented, according to the Sheriff’s Office. In 2017, there were 10,076 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes nationwide, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A majority of those lives could have been saved if they had been wearing seat belts.
There is a misconception among those who drive and ride in pickup trucks that their large vehicles will protect them better than other vehicles in a crash. Fifty-nine percent of pickup truck occupants who were killed in 2017 were not buckled compared to 42 percent of car occupants, according to a news release from the Sheriff’s Office.
Too many people also believe they are safe in the back seat without a seat belt. Forty-six percent of all front-seat passengers killed in 2017 crashes were unbuckled, but 56 percent of those killed in the back seat were unbuckled.
People who live in rural areas might believe their chance of being in a crash is lower, but in 2017 there were 12,786 passenger vehicle fatalities in rural locations compared to 10,316 fatalities in urban locations. Of those fatalities, 49 percent of those killed in rural locations were not wearing their seat belts compared to 44 percent in urban locations.
This data was provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.