One month ago, law enforcement officials had high hopes that the state would post fewer than 300 traffic fatalities in a single year for the first time in over seven decades. Unfortunately, that won’t happen. Iowa State Patrol spokesperson Sergeant Scott Bright says the traffic death toll for the year rose to 315 last week.
Bright expects the final tally in 2013 will be around 320.
There were 412 traffic fatalities in Iowa back in 2008 — almost 100 more than will be recorded this year. Bright gives credit to several factors.
Median cable barriers, installed along most of Iowa’s interstate systems in recent years, are also having an impact.
Bright says seat belt usage is also helping save lives. According to U.S. Department of Transportation figures, around 93-percent of Iowans routinely buckle-up in a vehicle. The national seat belt usage rate is 86-percent.