An annual campaign is underway to urge more motorists to use seat belts. The national “Click It or Ticket” campaign started this week and runs through June 3. The effort involves an increased focus by law enforcement on making sure motorists are buckled up.
Randy Hunefeld, with the Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau, says there are two main reasons to wear a seat belt. First, it’s illegal not to do so and second, it could save your life.
“With the fine being $127.50 for not buckling up, it’s well worth the effort to take those three seconds to buckle up…not only to save your life, but to save some money out of your wallet,” Hunefeld says. There were 360 fatalities from traffic crashes in Iowa last year, a 66-year low, but 115 victims were not wearing a seat belt.
Hunefeld says surveys show 94% of Iowa motorists are wearing seat belts during daytime hours, but only 69% are doing so at night.
“There’s quite a contrast there and for whatever reason, people aren’t taking the time to buckle up after it gets dark. Unfortunately, a lot of folks are being killed during the nighttime hours,” Hunefeld says.
Iowa’s seat belt law took effect in 1986. So far this year on Iowa roadways, there have been at least 125 fatalities from traffic crashes. Meanwhile, Hunefeld says his office has credited seat belt usage for helping 90 other motorists involved in crashes from being killed or seriously injured.