A national study by the Governors Highway Safety Association says Iowa has done a good job of keeping down speed-related traffic deaths. Association spokesman Fred Zwonechek say the study comes on the 10-year anniversary of the repeal of the national 55-mile-an-hour speed limit. He says Iowa has consistently had lower or decreasing fatality numbers over the last five years. Zwonechek says Iowa’s recent improvement makes it safer than other states. He says the average for all 50 states shows about one third of the traffic fatalities are related to speed and Iowa is a little bit below that. The study shows drivers in most states feel they can go 10 miles an hour over the posted speed limit an not get a ticket. Zwonechek says Iowans feel they have a five-mile-an-hour cushion. He says, “You really have this disparity, and this cushion, that’s probably five to ten miles-per-hour, is probably the belief that people think they can drive and not be detected, not be arrested. And we need to give law enforcement agencies political permission to enforce the limits at the limit.” Iowa legislators approved a change in law that will allow the speed limit on some highways to go up to 70 miles-an-hour in July. Zwonechek says that could lead to more speed-related deaths. He says if it follows studies done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 24 jurisdictions that raised their speed limits saw an increase in fatalities. You can see the entire survey at www.ghsa.org.
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