A state traffic safety specialist says Iowa’s on track to have one of its deadliest years for motor vehicle crashes. Scott Falb, at the Iowa Department of Transportation, says at least four more people died on Iowa’s roads last weekend, further upping the death toll. The total is 261 fatalities so far this year, which is 37 higher than we had on this date in 2002 and it’s also higher than in 2001. Two of the four people who were killed in Iowa last weekend were driving motorcycles. Over the 4th of July weekend, six motorcycle riders died statewide. Falb says more motorcycles are being bought and licensed by Iowans every year and the number of motorcycle-related deaths continues to rise as well. He says Iowa hit a low for motorcycle deaths in 1996 with 16 deaths but the numbers have continued to go up, with 41 motorcycle deaths statewide last year. So far this year, there have been 33 motorcycle deaths, right on par with where we were last year at this time. Falb says many motorcyclists who are killed aren’t wearing helmets, which he says is often why they die. Falb says “at least one-third of our motorcycle fatalities are directly attributable to head injuries” and in another fourth or so of the accidents, head injuries contributed to the multiple injuries that caused the death. He says if all motorcyclists in Iowa wore helmets, the number of deaths and injuries would be significantly lower. Iowa has -no- law requiring helmets — they’re optional.
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