Law enforcement agencies will be heavily patrolling the roads May 18th through the 31st (the days leading up to, and after, the Memorial Day weekend). During their patrols, officers will be looking to enforce the seat belt law, in hopes of reducing the number of crash fatalities.
Crash data shows that passenger vehicle occupants are buckling up more during the day than at nighttime. The two-week long law enforcement mobilization across Iowa and the rest of the nation, is created to heighten seat belt enforcement 24/7, and will focus enforcement efforts, especially between the nighttime hours of 6-p.m. and 6-a.m., due to the significant number of violators and fatal crashes during this time.
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 21,132 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 males 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. Keep in mind that those fatalities aren’t just statistics; they are 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.