Special seatbelt enforcement starts today

DES MOINES — A special traffic enforcement effort targeting seatbelt usage gets underway today  in the state.

Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau spokesman Brett Tjepkes says Iowa continues to have good numbers in seatbelt surveys. “We’ve been over 90% regularly for quite some time now,” he says.

But there are still concerns despite the high seatbelt use.  “Even though we do have that high percentage of usage for front seat, drivers and passengers — still in 2022 over half of our people that were killed in crashes in Iowa, we’re not wearing their seatbelts. And so, I think it’s perceived that it’s not a problem anymore.” according to Tjepkes.

He says their goal of lowering traffic deaths could be helped by everyone in the car buckling up.  “We took a little dip last year but to date, we still have more people that have died in crashes this year compared to the same time last year.” he says. “Speeding distraction are still major problems as well as impaired drivers. And so wearing your seatbelt is that one thing you can do to protect yourself when you’re in a crash. To protect yourself from others in a crash to have that seatbelt on.”

State law requires anyone under the age of 18 to wear a seatbelt. Tjepkes says it’s important for anyone regardless of age. “If you’re sitting in the backseat of a car, it’s still very important to wear your seatbelt back there also,Tjepkes says. “I think we feel like we’re more protected we’re in that backseat, but a lot of our crashes happen on rural roadways. somebody leaves the road and the car rolls over and  those passengers in the backseat are in just as much danger of  getting ejected out of a car and  in being severely or  fatally injured.”

The national seatbelt campaign coincides with the Memorial Day holiday and  the start of the summer driving season.  “But I can tell you are our law enforcement partners that we work with all over the state are out looking for  seatbelt usage and addressing those with either with citations or  educational opportunities all year long.,” he says.

This “Click it or Ticket” enforcement will run through June 4th.