State Patrol concerned with significant increase in excessive speeders, OWI's
Law enforcement says they've caught more people excessively speeding. Over the last 30 days, the state patrol says it has clocked 167 drivers going more than 100 miles per hour.
Over the last 4 years, they say those diving 25 mph over the speed limit are up 36%. Those driving over 100 mph has gone up 47%.
"We definitely have seen speeds increase," said Trooper Bob Conrad with Iowa State Patrol.
Conrad says there are about 50% fewer people on the roads and highways right now, so spotting those excessive speeders is actually easier.
"Some people think we are not out there, and we are and we're giving quite a few more tickets because of it,” he said.
This March, the State Patrol issued 103 speeding citations for people going over 100 miles per hour compared to 64 last March. April of last year, they issued 65. So far this April, they're already at 64 - only halfway through the month.
"It's really about safety. When you are going that fast things are happening so quick," Conrad said.
So they are directing troopers toward watching out for excessive speeders.
"We are going to be out in full force. We have an airplane system across the state of Iowa. We will be involving them,” he said.
The other concern is an increase in OWI's. They had 321 for April of 2019 and 338 so far this April, even with bars and restaurants closed for people to drink.
There is good news, however. They’ve seen fewer crashes and deaths in Iowa.
As of today, for this year, they are at 58 fatalities, down 14 in 2019.
“Dealing with less crashes frees up time to deal with people that are impaired drivers that are speeding way over the speed limit," Conrad added.
The Marion Police Department says they're also seeing a lower trend with crashes. Between March and April 15th, reports dropped from 33 last year to 20 this year.
"We have some issues here that pop up from time to time. We've had two officers, we've had someone over 30 miles per hour the posted speed limit, which is a $262.50 violation, let alone you are going to lose your license," said Officer Tom Daubs with the Marion Police Department.
They’ve also had fewer calls for service. Last April 15th, they had 51. This year that day, they had 15.
"We don't have the common occurrence of people calling in to report damage to their vehicle or someone drove into their yard and damaged their property because I think as a community people are doing their part they are staying put," said Daubs.
However, they are ready to still respond to calls as needed over the phone, email or in person. He just urges people to use common sense.
"Don't be out in groups of ten or more. If you do need to go out, be safe," said Daubs.