At least 48 motorists have avoided serious injury or death in traffic crashes in Iowa this year because they were wearing a seat belt. Scott Falb keeps track of the so-called “life toll” for the Iowa Department of Transportation. He says the life toll figure is well above where it was at this time last year. “In fact, this is the first year that our life toll numbers have been larger than our fatality numbers this far into March,” Falb said.
So far this year, 37 people have died in traffic accidents in Iowa – down from 48 at this time in 2010. DOT statistics show 93% of Iowa motorists wear a seat belt. Around half of the people who are killed in crashes in Iowa are unbelted motorists. “That means half of our fatalities are coming from the seven-percent of people who don’t buckle up,” Falb said. “That’s an awful large number from a small number of people who are just not buckling up.”
The state’s life toll began with the implementation of the Iowa seat belt law in 1986. Falb says, since that time, 6,443 people have been recorded as having their life saved because they were wearing a safety belt.