More Iowa motorists are wearing a seat belt. On Friday, Iowa Public Safety Director Eugene Meyer released updated figures compiled by the Department of Transportation and Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau. Meyer says Iowa’s seat belt usage rate has climbed from last year’s 89.6 percent to 91.3 percent, the 8th highest in the nation.
"Studies tell us that this 1.7 percent increase translates to saving six additional lives, and a decrease of 79 serious injuries," Meyer says. "Research also tells us that unbelted persons brought to emergency rooms are three times more likely to be hospitalized and eight times more likely to suffer head injuries than persons who wear seat belts."
As the Labor Day Holiday weekend begins, Colonel Robert Garrison of the Iowa State Patrol is reminding motorists they could be fined if they’re caught not using a seat belt.
"Last year, troopers issued 18,400 seat belt tickets," Garrison says, "and this year, we’re already up to 15,750 tickets for seat belt compliance. We consider this one of our priorities for enforcement." A seat belt ticket in Iowa, including court costs, can cost a motorist $83.