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Iowa Traffic Fatalities Keep Falling

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) The Iowa Department of Transportation has a lofty goal: 0 traffic deaths per year. Its ambitious, but the numbers are heading in the right direction.

"We all want to keep working at it until we get zero deaths. We don't find any fatalities on the roadways acceptable, said the Iowa Department of Transportations Transportation Planner Cathy Cutler.

The plan to get there, and the reason why the numbers have been going down, is summed up with the 5 Es: Enforcement, Education, Emergency Services, Engineering and Everyone Else.

The first three involve those who patrol on the roads and teach in the classroom.

"When we have time to go out and do those presentations, we touch hundreds of thousands of people each year, said Trooper Bob Conrad of the Iowa State Patrol.

"The state has taken certain steps to make sure young drivers are getting the time that they need to get experience in driving before they're given a full license, said Linn County Sheriff Offices Chief Deputy Colonel John Stuekle.

It may seem simple but message boards like the ones along highway 380 might just be enough to remind drivers to stay safe and it could save a life.

"Telling how many fatalities there have been I think opens people's eyes. The messages such as winter weather advisories or when there's an accident ahead, information is always good, said Colonel Stuekle.

Those last two points credit safer technology in cars and on the road, along with changes in common travel attitudes.

"I've watched it happen many times where the kids tell the parents or the grandparents, "Get your seat belt on!" They know, they've been raised that way, they know no different, said Trooper Conrad.

For an idea of how far safety measures have come, at its worst, there were 912 fatalities just in Iowa in 1970. This year, officials expect the final number to be a third of that.
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