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Fatality statistics suggest Iowa roads were safer last year

State statistics on traffic-related deaths suggest Iowa roads were safer last year than in 2016. (MGN Online)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - State statistics on traffic-related deaths suggest Iowa roads were safer last year than in 2016.

Iowa Department of Transportation figures show that 329 people died in traffic-related incidents in 2017, as of Dec. 29. The 2016 figure: 398.

The drop in traffic deaths follows a jump in 2016 from 315 fatalities in 2015.

Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Nathan Ludwig told The Des Moines Register that a new state law that cracked down on texting while driving may have helped avert deadly collisions in 2017.

Ludwig also said the lack of snowfall last year - except for heavy snow and winds Thursday and Friday - may have helped lower the fatality figure.

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