The number of people who died on Iowa’s highways in 2002 is the lowest its been in sixty years. Scott Falb of the Iowa Department of Transportation says he’s documented 409 traffic deaths thus far. He says he expects to find out about six to eight more fatalities, putting the total at 416, the lowest total since World War Two. Falb says he won’t officially close the books on the year until later this month. He says files on deaths that involve court cases sometimes don’t come in right away and it’s the same story with people who’re taken to hospitals out of state. Falb says they include people who die within 30 days of their accident, so there may be people who were involved in a December crash that don’t survive, and will be included in the 2002 total. Falb says the low number of deaths isn’t a total surprise.He says we’ve been trending downward for a number of years, although this is an unusually low year and the numbers will likely go up a little next year. Falb says several factors have made Iowa’s highways safer. He says they believe the graduated drivers’ license law, the 65 mile and hour speed limit, and the revocation of licenses for OWI have contributed to the low number of deaths. Falb says the state has also completed several four-lane expressways and improved the shoulders of many highways, making travel safer.
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