It is no surprise that highways can be very dangerous. Traffic fatalities in Iowa are more than 13 percent higher this year than the average number of fatalities over the last five years.
One of the keys to reducing fatalities and major crashes is to bring awareness to the problem. While many are aware of the dangerous stretches of roads, the number of crashes is increasing at an alarming rate. The Iowa departments of transportation and public safety are teaming up with local law enforcement partners to create safety corridors across the state.
Six sections of roadways in Iowa have been identified to be in the top 1% for all crashes and severe crashes in Iowa between 2016-2020. Two out of six are roads right here in Southeast Iowa.
U.S. 218 from Mt. Pleasant to County road J-20 (near Salem) in Henry County as well as Iowa 2 from Donnellson to U.S. 61 in Lee County.
These roads also had a higher number of single-vehicle, run-off-the-road crashes and rear-end crashes at intersections with speeding and distraction as major causes.
Iowans may notice the safety corridor marked with signs. Pavement markings in those areas have been widened to help drivers more easily see them in low-light and inclement weather. In addition, the Iowa State Patrol and local law enforcement will have an increased focus on enforcing the area. Education and communication efforts throughout the year will help remind drivers that practicing good driving behaviors can make the area safer.
“We have seen speeds and distraction behind the wheel rise and only 40 percent of those who die on Iowa’s roads are wearing a seatbelt. Unfortunately, our state’s climbing fatality rates are showing the consequences of our individual decisions behind the wheel. We all have someone who is expecting us to return from each trip safely. Creating safety corridors is just another way the DOT can help remind drivers of the role they play in making sure everyone returns home safely,” explained Scott Marler, Iowa Department of Transportation director.
“The Iowa State Patrol is committed to reducing traffic collisions, injuries, and preventable deaths on Iowa roadways. We are confident that we can accomplish these goals with collaboration, strong partnerships, and a concerted effort on traffic safety. By working together, we can collectively and proactively address safety concerns across the state of Iowa,” remarked Colonel Nathan Fulk, Iowa State Patrol.