Iowa State Patrol taking part in statewide effort to reduce fatalities on Iowa roadways

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 6:15 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Eased COVID restrictions, warm weather, and people getting out on the roads are just some of the factors law enforcement is pointing to for more deadly crashes of late.

“It’s frustrating to be honest,” said Iowa State Patrol Trooper Bob Conrad. “When you think of one person-a-day dying on Iowa roadways that should say ‘that’s way too many to anybody.’”

This year, they are trying to keep the roads as safe as possible. So far in 2021, 119 people have died in crashes in the state, up about 20% from this time last year.

“We saw a spike in the last couple of months of fatalities on Iowa roadways, which is not surprising with the increased travel, and reductions of COVID,” Conrad said.

That’s the reason for this latest enforcement project, going from now through the 12th, focusing on issues that lead to serious crashes, including speeding, aggressive and distracted driving. In about half of those fatalities, law enforcement says people were not wearing a seatbelt.

“If you can go back and take those people that day, half of that number, and put their seatbelt on, probably 30 or 40 of those people would be here standing with us today,” Conrad added.

Wednesday was a busy morning for speeding stops as well as some arrests.

“Just proceeding Father’s Day, that time has shown over the last 10 years to be kind of a detrimental time to drivers,” Conrad said.

Conrad says they can’t be everywhere at once, so the drivers have to take some responsibility.

“That distraction of the phones or I’m bored, and I can multitask, I think we have developed such a way that we want to do more, but you can only do so much well,” he said.

If the fines aren’t enough, he urges people what money can’t buy, a life, and to work with law enforcement to keep the roads safe.

“We can come out here every day probably, and write tickets and do that but the motorists have to understand they are the ones completely in control of the fate, and how things go out there. This number here didn’t happen when a Trooper was out there watching them,” Conrad said.

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