Iowa State Patrol sees increase in excessive speeding amid pandemic
DES MOINES, Iowa (KWQC) - Iowa State Patrol says they’ve seen a pattern of dangerously high speeds emerge on Iowa roadways during the pandemic.
ISP said while less people are traveling due to COVID-19, there has been an increase in drivers who are seeing open roads as “an opportunity to drive aggressively.”
For example, ISP shared a picture on Facebook showing a driver had gone 121 mph in a 70 mph zone in Scott County.
Iowa State Patrol said extreme speeds like this can lead to “disastrous consequences,” especially as the volume of daily traffic is expected to gradually increase with summer vacation trips and more people returning to workplaces.
The following is data Iowa State Patrol shared in a news release:
Recent data released from the Iowa State Patrol, tracking speeding violations from January 1 through June 10, 2020, shows 1,635 drivers exceeded the speed limit by 25 mph or more. That's a 65% increase compared to the four-year average. Citations for these speeds in the months of April and May alone totaled 912 compared to 764 violations for the three previous months combined.
The data shows the most common speeding violators represent a younger demographic primarily consisting of males between the ages of 14 and 29 years of age. The highest rate of noncompliance with posted speed limits occurred on Saturday afternoons. One of the most alarming patterns in the data identifies that nearly one-third of the violations during that time period were for speeds that exceeded 100 mph. Violations for these flagrant speeds have increased 84% compared to the four-year average. Troopers routinely clocked speeds as high as 121 to 155 mph as drivers have found less congested roadways.
Iowans are not alone in aggressive driving behaviors. The Patrol’s data revealed that 60% of the violators are out-of-state drivers. Neighboring states are also experiencing patterns of excessive speeding, and states like Minnesota, Missouri and Louisiana are seeing those behaviors accompanied by higher fatality crash rates.
“These traffic trends are alarming and unprecedented,” says Iowa State Patrol Commander Colonel Nathan Fulk, in a news release. “High speeds are not only making our Iowa roadways less safe on a daily basis for all of us, but speeding is one of the leading contributing factors in fatality crashes. We need motorists to understand that this type of driving behavior is not the new normal.”
Iowa State Patrol said they are collaborating with the Iowa Department of Public Safety, the Governor’s Safety Bureau and the Iowa Department of Transportation on tactics to help bring awareness to the issue.
ISP has been sharing posts on Facebook to help bring awareness to the issue and encourage the public to drive safely.
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