Iowa State Patrol launches effort to save lives on Iowa roads as 2021 starts off safer compared to recent years

Published: Feb. 24, 2021 at 6:43 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - 2021 is starting off as one of the safest in recent memory. 25 people have died in crashes in Iowa so far this year.

That’s by far the fewest at this point in at least the past 40 years, but troopers are targeting one risk factor for deadly crashes that has increased - speeding.

Wednesday morning, Iowa State Patrol Trooper Bob Conrad making a handful of speeding stops since his day of patrolling started at 7 am.

“We had several in the 80 s, ‘some of the 90′s. Our highest was at 106,” he said. “And that was in rush hour and heavy traffic, so in situations like that those are life-threatening speeds.”

Those increased speeders are not unique on just this day.

“We’ve noticed during COVID, and the times we’ve had in the last year, speeds are increasing and I don’t mean just kind of increasing, I mean in the hundreds of miles per hour, so 100, 110, 120, and 130,” Conrad said.

Wednesday kicked off extra enforcement around I-80 and I-380 targeting that dangerous driving. The goal is something that hasn’t happened since the 1920s, fewer than 300 deaths this year on Iowa roadways.

“That’s our focus to make a difference and start saving more lives,” Conrad said. “We have close to 10 units working excessive speed, and aggressive driving. That means people that are following too close that nobody likes, and the people that are weaving in and out of traffic.”

Patrols like this have been a challenge, both from the Pandemic and a string of winter storms.

“We haven’t been able to enforce like we want to because the roads have not been safe. Now that we’ve had some temperature change, and some dry roads, we see speeds climbing back up again, and we’re out here,” Conrad added.

Conrad says they will continue to be out doing enforcement and education every day. When they aren’t around, he urges people who see a threat to get away from those drivers and call 911.

“This isn’t about just giving out tickets, this is about saving lives. If you know somebody that’s been lost in a fatal crash, you understand that, you get that there’s a bigger picture here. That’s the picture we’re trying to get to,” he said.

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