DES MOINES — Iowa State Patrol spokesman Alex Dinkla says 2022 ended with 338 fatal traffic accidents.
“That number is down from the past few years. But again, it still is over our goal,” Dinkla says. That goal was to hold traffic deaths to 300 or below, which he says has not been done in Iowa since 1925. Sergeant Dinkla says they haven’t had time to analyze all the numbers yet –but there was one that stuck out.
“This year, we did have 11 ATV or UTV fatalities. That’s the highest number that we’ve had in a number of years,” he says “And so that is pretty alarming when we look at that statistic.” He says part of the increase could be because more people are driving them.
“These are becoming more and more popular as we see those being used all around Iowa and on our roadways. And the recent legislation did allow those vehicles to be driven on our roadways, legally now. And so now that we see those being legally operated on our roadways, those are just becoming more prevalent,” he says.
Dinkla says they do know that some of the traffic death could have been prevented if people had buckled up. “A hundred and 14 people failed to buckle that seatbelt in collisions had they buckled that seatbelt, there’s no doubt that we would have had more lives saved and possibly not even had as many people injured in those car crashes,” Dinkla says. “Whether you’re in the front seat back seat, no matter where you’re at, think of safety as the forefront when you get in that vehicle. And before you head out somewhere.”
Dinkla says their ultimate goal is to have zero fatal accidents on the roadways — and they plan to continue working to get below 300. He says they will step up the effort throughout this year with special efforts across each Patrol district.”And so, they are going to be proactively setting up projects every month that are geared towards reducing crashes on our roadways. So moving forward, there’s no doubt that you’re gonna see clusters of officers work against impacts, to drive down these fatality numbers,” Dinkla says.
Dinkla says each fatal accident affect families, friends and loved ones all over Iowa.