Iowans do a good job of buckling up when they are driving or riding, at least while they are in the front seat. Our 2017 seatbelt survey shows more than 91.4 percent of drivers and front seat passengers are belted. But unfortunately, that is down from 93.8 percent in 2016. This survey is required by the federal government, but it doesn’t count those riding in the back seat of the vehicle.
Iowa law requires minors to be secured in a vehicle in a safety seat or seat belt deemed appropriate for the child’s height and weight. Most parents do a good job following the law to keep their kids safe.
But adults in the back seat are not legally bound to wear seat belts. Why is that a problem? Because in a crash, these unbelted people can easily become projectiles, causing serious injuries not only to themselves but to others in the vehicle. Everyone in the vehicle can be impacted (literally) by the choice to not buckle up.
Imagine how you would feel in this scenario. You’re a grandparent riding unbelted in the backseat with your 2-year old grandchild who is properly restrained in a car seat. The vehicle is involved in a crash and you end up knocking heads, or worse, with the child. If either of you survive the crash, can you imagine the guilt that could have been avoided by taking three seconds to click that belt?
We’ve all seen the crash test dummy photos, but here’s a real-life story that didn’t have to end so tragically - https://www.ksl.com/?sid=26954581
For 2018, there have been 17 fatalities reported. The 2017 fatality stands at 332. This is subject to change as law enforcement reports are completed. To see statistics published daily by the Office of Driver Services, go to the daily fatality report at https://www.iowadot.gov/mvd/stats/daily.pdf