August 1, 2017
Heatstroke kills children. It seems so simple to correct, never leave a baby alone in a car. Yet, every year children die of heatstroke from confinement in a hot vehicle. At least two children in the United States die every week in hot vehicles during the summer months, according to the National Safety Council. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that as of July 12, 19 children have died this year in the United States after being left in hot cars.
Something so quick and simple could save hundreds of lives on Iowa’s roadways every year. According to the most recent state seat belt survey, nearly 94 percent of all Iowa drivers and front seat passengers buckle up, which is great.
However, the sad statistic is that at least 126 of the 405 people who died last year in Iowa crashes were unbuckled.
Most of us want to believe the best about others, but when you’ve been cut off by a driver who didn’t sign the intention to turn or change lanes, those good thoughts can turn ugly pretty quickly.
There’s a reason turn signals are required on every vehicle. It should be obvious, but we’ll put it out there anyway. Using your turn signal can help avoid crashes. When you let other drivers know what you’re planning to do, they can be prepared to move their vehicles accordingly, when you don’t, other drivers can be taken by surprise and not be able to react in time to avoid a crash.
Data drives the critical decisions we make every day. The Iowa Department of Transportation has long been a leader in the collection of transportation data, including things like traffic volumes, lane width, and sufficiency ratings. Many custom data systems have been developed by or for us that use the latitude and longitude of the centerlines of every public roadway to give a common linear reference point to tie together many types of data.
These systems, most notably the Geographic Information Management System (GIMS), provided access to a variety of information, but were sometimes complex to use and required a desktop application to access the data.