December 28, 2016
You see the images everywhere this time of year – wonderfully decorated Christmas trees with beautifully wrapped gifts underneath. Many families look forward to a guessing game of what’s inside and the excitement when the secrets wrapped in colorful paper are finally revealed.
One of the most valuable “gifts” the majority of vehicle owners automatically receive are the airbags inside your vehicle. These safety features may not seem like much of a gift as they sit dormant inside the steering wheel, dashboard, or side impact zones, but as most anyone who has been in a crash that triggered one of these devices can tell you, they are lifesavers.
Iowa is setting the bar high related to traffic safety. The state’s Multidisciplinary Safety Team (MDST) Program, a coordinated effort between the Iowa Department of Transportation, Iowa Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP), and the Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau, is the first of its kind in the country.
Before a crash or emergency or after one occurs, there are a number of professionals in the area of emergency management; first responders such as fire and emergency medical; engineers; law enforcement; traffic planners and more who work to keep the public safe. These professionals come from a variety of agencies who all have their own areas of focus and ways to do business. It is extremely important to have an avenue for these professionals to come together.
With the holiday season upon us, we can take for granted how easily all those gifts and goodies get to stores and even directly to our doorsteps. Just because our transportation system is good, that doesn’t mean it can’t be better. Developing and maintaining a system for the efficient movement of people and goods is the core task of the Iowa Transportation Commission and the Iowa Department of Transportation. Making sure the transportation system is improved in the right places at the right time takes a lot of planning behind the scenes year-round.
As part of the Iowa Transportation Commission and Iowa DOT’s long-term planning effort, Iowa in Motion 2045, several planning efforts are being connected together to get an overall picture of how the transportation system is functioning and where there is room for improvement. To make a good system better, Iowa DOT planners are collecting and analyzing data in new and innovative ways.
Which list are you on? By now you’ve heard the reasons why buckling up is not just a good idea, it likely would save your life in a crash. But there are always those few out there who simply refuse to listen to either the law or common sense.
We know it’s the holidays and everyone wants to be upbeat, but we’re going to be blunt about this. Iowa’s highway fatalities are alarmingly high this year. While there are several factors involved in the larger-than-usual loss of life, approximately 47 percent of the people who died might have been saved with one simple click of a seat belt.
Freedom. How different it looks outside the borders of the United States. The Iowa Department of Transportation and other Iowa government leaders are learning that firsthand as they embark on cooperative traffic safety efforts with Iowa’s sister-state of Kosovo.
A little about Kosovo
Kosovo is a land-locked Eastern European country of about 2 million people located between Serbia to the north, Albania to the southwest, and Macedonia to the southeast. Since the Roman Empire, the area now known as Kosovo has been occupied or claimed by many different empires and nations.
In 2008, Kosovo declared independence from Serbia. In 2011, the Iowa-Kosovo National Guard Partnership was established with the long-term goal of assisting the people of Kosovo to develop security forces and establish a relationship between Iowa and Kosovo. In its March 17, 2011, news release, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad’s office wrote, “The program’s goals are to link National Guard states and territories with partner countries for the purpose of fostering mutual interests and establishing habitual, long-term relationships across all levels of society.”