In 2009, traffic fatalities in Iowa were the lowest they have been since World War II and continue to plunge this year. Knoxville Police Chief Dan Losada says he’s not exactly sure why the fatality rates are down. He says while the economy may be part of the reason, he believes it has more to do with changes in driving behavior and improved safety in the design of roads and cars. Losada says he has seen people walk away from accidents recently that would have killed them a few years ago. Pella Police Chief Michael Marcinkowski says thanks to grant support from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, departments like his can commit more officers to safety patrols. Marcinkowski adds that recent legislation increasing the fines for seatbelt violations is encouraging an even greater number of Iowans to buckle up, which is also helping to reduce the number of motorists killed on the state’s roadways. Fatal accidents in Iowa are down 16 percent from last year.