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Special state speed enforcement to begin Thursday

DES MOINES — The state Traffic Fatality Reduction Task Force is launching the second of four special traffic enforcement efforts Thursday.

State Patrol public information officer Ryan Devault says they are focusing on speeding, and the timing is based on past history. “This task force had looked at statistics for the last ten years and that’s one of those days that had a spike in speed — or around that date,” he says.

Trooper Devault says he think speeds have come down from where they were when COVID was at its peak, but there are still egregious violations where drivers are in excess of 100 miles-an-hour. “I know in 2020 we wrote 1,497 tickets over 100-miles-per hour. Now that’s just the Iowa State Patrol, that’s not talking cities and counties that are out there enforcing the law as well. It became an alarming thing for us, which is part of why this Iowa Traffic Fatality Reduction Task Force was created,” Devault says.

The push to reduce speeding is intended to try and keep the number of speed-related fatalities below 300 for the year. Devault says it is something drivers can impact. “Roughly 90 percent of the accidents that are occurring out there are on the roadway are behavior-related. Where, if you are going over the posted speed limit, you have usually for the most part chosen to do that,” according to Devault.

He acknowledges vehicles are much safer these days. They can brake for you when you are too close to another car on the highway, they can tell you when it’s safe to change lanes — and there could someday be totally autonomous cars without human input.

“We are totally against those — I mean there still has to be some human input into a vehicle,” Devault says. “We can’t rely upon electronics because we all know that those fail, otherwise mechanics wouldn’t still be in business. Yes, those safety are good, but just you as a driver out there paying attention to what you are doing is a big thing.”

Devault also reminds you to not drive distracted or drive impaired, and buckle your seat belt. The Iowa State Patrol will conduct the special traffic enforcement Thursday in Partnership with the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau, the Iowa Department of Transportation, and local law enforcement agencies


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