A spokesman for the Iowa State Patrol says preliminary numbers show deaths on Iowa roadways in July were at their lowest number yet for the month in this decade.
Jim Saunders says there were 32 deaths this year compared to 37 in July 2005. He says the real significance in that number is the state has averaged 41 highway deaths in July each year since 2000. Saunders says the good numbers in the seventh month of the year could lead to a better overall number at the end of 2006.
Saunders says it’s early, but with a couple more months of record-low fatalities, the year end number could be low too. Overall Iowa has recorded 229 traffic deaths through the end of July 2006 which is down by 19 compared to same time period in 2005.
Saunders says the only way to ensure that traffic deaths stay low is for drivers to continue to be proactive. Saunders says it’s good news, but people still have to wear their seatbelts and not drink and drive.
Saunders says the patrol will continue it’s “aggressive enforcement” of the seatbelt and impaired driving laws. The D-O-T statistics show the least amount of fatal accidents so far this year was in January with 23. April and June were the worst months for fatalities — each with 40.