The Thanksgiving weekend is one of the busiest travel times of the year for Iowans. Patrick Hoye, chief of the Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau, says that added congestion on the roads increases the likelihood of crashes.
“Unfortunately, Thanksgiving falls within probably our top three or four holidays in the year. July Fourth, Labor Day, and Memorial Day are right there with Thanksgiving — those four holidays seem to have the highest crash rates in our state,” Hoye said. Last year, over the Thanksgiving holiday period, three people were killed in crashes on Iowa roadways. Hoye is advising motorists to slow down and buckle up.
He notes the risk of a fatal injury drops by up to 60% if you’re wearing a seat belt and you’re involved in a crash. “We see crashes, time and time again, where the driver or passenger would’ve survived if they’d been buckled in,” Hoye said. Iowa has one of the highest seat belt compliance rates in the nation, at 93%, but the unbuckled 7% represent 46% of the fatalities in traffic crashes.
The Iowa Department of Public Safety reports additional law enforcement officers will be working over the holiday period, making sure motorists aren’t speeding and are buckled-up.