Eighty-six percent of Iowans are buckling up, according to new data from the Iowa Department of Public Safety. Public Safety Commissioner Kevin Techau says fastening your seat belt is the “single smartest and best thing anybody can do when they get in their care to prevent serious injury or death.” Techau says a only handful of states have a higher seat belt usage rate. Techau says Iowa’s 86 percent seat belt usage rate for 2003 ranks Iowa 8th best in the country. Officials are troubled, however, that those who primarily drive in rural Iowa are less likely to buckle up. Techau says there are still “isolated spots” in Iowa where seat belt usage is below 86 percent, and he says those “spots” tend to be in rural areas. Techau says seat belt use is a smart decision anytime. He says statistics show that on a normal trip within a two mile radius of home, the average driver will make four-hundred observations, 40 decisions and one mistake, which shows accidents are going to happen. Techau says in the last 17 years over five-thousand folks in traffic accidents in Iowa lived or were spared serious injury because they were wearing a seat belt.
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