Seatbelt usage has increased in Iowa for the first time in four years. An Iowa Department of Transportation survey shows that 77-percent of Iowans buckle up when they hit the state’s roadways. Seatbelt usage in the survey had held at 75-percent since 1995. The increase in seatbelt usage qualifies Iowa for 495-thousand dollars in federal funds for seatbelt education. Bob Thompson with the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau says this money will be used to target Iowa’s smaller counties and cities. Thompson says many of the special efforts will come during high trafficholidays such as Memorial Day. Iowa is attempting to meet a national goal of 85-percent seatbelt usage by the year 2000 and Thompson says they hopethe new efforts will lead to that. The survey shows the best seatbelt usage — 84-percent — is on Iowa’s interstates. The biggest increase in usage over last year was on county roads up twelve percent to 80-percent. The D-O-T says Iowa’s 77-percent seatbelt usage ranks the state seventhnationally and tops in the midwest.
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