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Traffic fatalities are spiking across the state, safety officials announced Tuesday asthey called onIowa drivers to slow down, put down the phone and buckle up in an effort to save lives.

To date, 119 people have died intraffic-related accidents across the state this year, which is a 25% increase from thesame time a year ago, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation.

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Greg Franck, the father of Wade Franck, a 41-year-old Des Moines cyclist killed in 2015 by a drunk driver while on an organized ride with friends, was among the task force's supporters at Tuesday's announcement.

"To me, holding traffic fatalities below 300 this year means sparing families of having to go through that awful year of first reminders—first birthday, first Mother's Day, first Christmas (without your loved one)," Frank said. "Our story underscores the importance of the efforts of the task force. The task force gives us hope that others won't be killed."

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