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Bill sets new penalty for fatal wrecks involving excessive speed

DES MOINES — The Iowa House and Senate have unanimously voted to create a new crime for driving at an excessive speed and causing someone else’s death. Representative Jon Thorup of Knoxville, a state trooper, was the bill’s floor manager in the House.

“This bill increases the penalty for speeding 25 miles per hour or more in cases where such speeding results in the death of a human being,” Thorup said. “The penalty would become a Class C felony.”

According to the Iowa Sheriffs and Deputies Association, it’s difficult to appropriately charge a speeding driver involved in a fatal accident if prosecutors cannot prove the driver was intoxicated or intentionally targeting someone. The bill passed the House unanimously on March 23. It passed the Senate yesterday on a 48-to-zero vote.

The Iowa State Patrol issued 85% more tickets to drivers caught going 25 miles an hour or more over the speed limit in the first six months of last year compared to the previous four-year average.

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