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Law enforcement: Buckle up for Thanksgiving travels

This Thanksgiving holiday, the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office and Marshalltown Police Department will join law enforcement agencies statewide to ramp up patrols and be on the lookout for seat belt violations. This extra enforcement will be from Nov. 20-27.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) during the 2014 Thanksgiving holiday, 341 vehicle occupants were killed nationwide in traffic crashes. Fifty percent of those fatalities were not wearing seat belts. In Iowa, five people were killed over the 2015 holiday. According to Iowa DOT statistics as of today, 347 people have lost their lives in crashes this year on Iowa roadways. That is a 23 percent increase over this same time last year. Of those killed in Iowa this year, more than 40 percent were not wearing seat belts.

The NHTSA reports that wearing a seat belt can reduce the risk of a fatal injury by 45 percent.  Ejection from a vehicle is one of the most dangerous incidents that can happen to a person in a crash. Eighty percent of passenger vehicle occupants totally ejected from vehicles were killed; only 1 percent of the belted occupants were totally ejected during a crash.

Law enforcement officers also will be watching for other dangerous driving behaviors that are directly linked to fatality crashes, including but not limited to speeding, impaired driving and distracted driving.

Officials said wearing a seat belt is the single most effective way to save lives in the event of a crash, adding failing to buckle up is dangerous and against the law.

“This is not about writing tickets, it is about making sure our friends and loved ones are safe while traveling our roadways,” said MCSO Sgt. Ben Veren.

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