HJ - Standard Page Co Sheriff Truck

 (Herald-Journal file photo)

Memorial Day and the traditional beginning of summer are quickly approachihng.

Unfortunately, with the increase in summer traffic we will also see a rise in traffic crashes and fatalities. Last year there were four fatalities on Iowa roadways over the Memorial Day weekend; four deaths that may have been prevented.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2017 there were 10,076 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes nationwide. A majority of those lives could have been saved if they had been wearing seat belts.

The national Click it or Ticket campaign will take place May 20 through June 2. State and local law agencies across the state will be stepping up seat belt enforcement with the goal of protecting you and your family.

Page County Sheriff’s Office and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau remind all drivers of the importance of seat belt use.

Seat belt myths: Data supplied by NHTSA

There seems to be a misconception among those who drive and ride in pickup trucks that their large vehicles will protect them better than other vehicles would in a crash. Fifty-nine percent of pickup occupants who were killed in 2017 were not buckled compared to 42 percent of car occupants.

Too many people believe they are safe in the back seat unrestrained. Forty-six percent of all front-seat passengers killed in 2017 crashes were unbelted but 56 percent of those killed in the back seat were unbelted.

People who live in rural areas might believe that their chance of being in a crash is lower but in 2017 there were 12,786 passenger vehicle fatalities in rural locations compared to 10,316 fatalities in urban locations. Of those fatalities, 49 percent of those killed in rural locations were not wearing seat belts compared to 44 percent in urban locations.

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