About nine in ten Iowa drivers and passengers wear their seat belts and the state’s launching a new effort today to reach the remaining holdouts. Dena Gray-Fisher, spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Transportation, says the latest six-week campaign will be using those black-and-yellow message boards along the interstates.
Gray-Fisher says the changeable message boards will say "Click It or Ticket, Seat Belts Save Lives." Those message boards are located in: Ames, Mason City, Sioux City, Iowa City, Council Bluffs, Cedar Rapids, the Quad Cities, and the Des Moines metro area. She says law officers -can- pull you over if they spot you not wearing your seat belt.
Gray-Fisher says: "Of course, we don’t want to have anyone driving without their seat belts, just for their own safety. Seat belts really do save lives and that’s been proven many times. You certainly don’t want to get a ticket for a seat belt violation either." The fine is $25 but with court costs, it runs 35-bucks. She says recent surveys have found about 90-percent of Iowa motorists are using their seat belts, but one sub-class of drivers is not buckling up as often.
Gray-Fisher says, "The focus this year on the seat belt use is related to pickup truck drivers and their passengers. They’re underreporting as far as usage so that’s an emphasis area for this campaign." Iowa’s original seat belt mandate was signed in 1986. Since then, a DOT study finds more than 5,800 people have survived crashes in the state with no serious injuries because they were wearing their seat belts at the time.