As motorists take to the roads this Memorial Day, Iowa law enforcement officials, including the Knoxville Police Department and Marion County Sheriff's Department, are urging everyone to buckle up. Law enforcement officials will be out in full force as part of the 2013 National “Click it or Ticket” seat belt enforcement mobilization, cracking down on motorists who are not belted as well as other traffic violators. The mobilization began May 20 and runs through June 2.
“As we kick off the busy summer driving season, it's important that everyone buckles up every time they go out, both day and night,” Randy Hunefeld, sTEP coordinator with the Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau said. “Officers are prepared to ticket anyone not wearing a seat belt.”
According to the US DOT's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 52 percent of the 21,253 passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2011 were not wearing seat belts at the time of their crash. Deaths involving seat belt non-use are more prevalent at night. According to the NHTSA, 62 percent of the 10,135 passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2011 during the hours of 6 p.m.-5:59 a.m., were not wearing seat belts. In 2011, seat belts saved an estimated 11,949 lives.
In 2012, Iowa had 364 fatalities. Of those, 167 (45.88 percent) were unbuckled. For those killed in crashes at night, the percent unbuckled grew by 15.5 percent.