Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

November 20, 2012

Iowa law enforcement warns motorists to buckle up


DES MOINES — Planning on a Thanksgiving trip this year? Make sure your seat belt is buckled.

The Iowa State Patrol says the state's law enforcement will be making a concerted effort to enforce laws requiring people to buckle up. Most Iowans already do, with studies showing 92 percent of the state's drivers and passengers wear seat belts.

But that 8 percent worries officials. As of Nov. 1, 2012, Iowa had seen 299 fatalities on the roads. Of those, 37 percent were not wearing seat belts, well out of proportion to the percentage who don't buckle up statewide. Seat belts aren't a guarantee, experts say, but they are the best way to give yourself better odds in a major crash.

Patrick Hoyle, the bureau chief of the Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau, was blunt. “Seat belts save lives and that is the bottom line," he said.

Similar efforts to focus on seat belt compliance in August and September led officers to issue 2,358 tickets for people not wearing their seat belts.