Iowa consistently ranks among the nation’s top states for seat belt use, but the numbers could be better. Triple-A Iowa spokesman Phil Wedgwood says the motor club is taking part in today’s World Health Day, as declared by the World Health Organization, with a focus this year on safer roads. Wedgwood says the goal is to raise awareness in hopes of reducing the staggering number of traffic-related deaths and injuries worldwide. Between 1979 and 1999, Wedgwood says studies find safety belts saved 123-thousand lives in the U.S. alone. He says Iowa is keeping track of its seat belt success stories too. The Iowa “Life Toll” has been running since July of 1986. Since then, five-thousand-260 people have been saved on Iowa roads because they were wearing their seat belts, 39 this year already. Wedgwood says it’s been shown that if all motor vehicle occupants consistently wore safety belts, almost ten-thousand American deaths could be prevented each year.Every year, more than one-point-two million people die in motor vehicle crashes and an estimated ten to 15 million people are injured. Wedgwood says experts predict traffic fatalities will double by the year 2020, thus becoming the third leading cause of death worldwide, jumping from its current ranking of ninth.
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