Iowa DOT News Release



Preliminary year-to-date crash fatality data for 2010 appears to show a decrease from six-year average

Posted on: December 30, 2010

AMES, Iowa Dec. 30, 2010 – Fatality numbers for 2010 are expected to show a decrease from the six-year average, but they already show an increase over the 2009 single-year final number, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation's (Iowa DOT) data collection. In the past six years, death tolls on Iowa highways ranged from 2009’s low of 371 to a high of 450 in 2005, for an approximate annual average of 418. Preliminary data to date show that 384 people have already died on Iowa’s roadways during 2010.

Preliminary fatality data is collected continuously throughout the year from law enforcement reports and media accounts, but, because of time lags in crash reporting, final annual data is often not complete until several months into the next year. Scott Falb of the DOT's Office of Driver Services says that, although this year's data is not yet complete, the current numbers sadly show that far too many people continue to die each year on Iowa highways. “While we won't know the final 2010 numbers for a while, the previous six-year average fatality number for December is more than 38 lives lost. One death is one too many and every life lost is a tragedy. That person is a mom, dad, sister or brother who wasn't at the holiday dinner table this year,” Falb said.

Falb says one particularly worrisome statistic to come from the 2010 fatality count is the number of motorcyclists killed on Iowa roadways. “Since 2007, when Iowa saw 61 motorcyclists killed, the trend for motorcycle deaths had been going down with a five-year average of 56 deaths,” he said, “So far in 2010, the data shows 60 motorcyclists died.” Falb says more motorcyclists may have been on the road over the warm-weather months in 2010. He said, “The driving climate for motorcyclists was more hospitable this year, and even when there was rain the temperatures were warm enough that motorcyclists still took to the road.”

Fatalities
(December 2010 number as of Dec. 30)

Month

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

January

18

27

36

33

23

44

34

February

30

21

30

24

34

31

15

March

19

27

29

25

27

30

14

April

23

37

25

35

39

30

25

May

31

46

23

40

34

31

34

June

36

33

43

37

40

45

41

July

35

31

30

51

38

37

42

August

56

29

44

42

37

35

37

September

29

32

37

44

45

38

41

October

43

29

33

34

42

35

39

November

47

35

45

45

34

50

23

December

17

24

37

36

46

44

43

Total

384

371

412

446

439

450

388

In addition to fatality numbers, the Iowa DOT compiles a “Life Toll” to record the number of people who have escaped serious injury or death because they were buckled up at the time of a crash, as determined by the investigating law enforcement officer. For currently reported crashes so far this year, 184 people have been saved by their seat belts. The total number saved since the mandatory seat belt law went into effect July 1, 1986, is 6,395.

#

Contact: Scott Falb at 515-237-3154 or scott.falb@dot.iowa.gov.

 


Iowa highway in the evening