A fatal accident in August of last year on West Lake Okoboji has prompted a proposal to create a night-time speed limit for boats in Dickinson County. Perry dentist Michael Brosnahan was killed in the accident and his wife injured. Iowa Department of Natural Resources law enforcement bureau chief, Lowell Joslin, says the East Okoboji Lakes Improvement Association asked for the speed limit.
Joslin says their original request was for 30 miles-an-hour between the hours of sunset and sunrise on all Dickinson County lakes. He says other groups also supported the idea. Joslin says the speed limit got modified as it moved through the process. Joslin says in early December he made a change to call for a 25 miles-an-hour restriction and changed the time to one half hour after sunset to sunrise.
Joslin says he made the change to avoid problems with another law. Joslin says they currently have a regulation that allows people to ski up to a half hour after sunset, and he says he didn’t want to cause problems with the skiers. Joslin says there has been a debate as to whether 25 or 30 miles-an-hour is fast enough for some of the bigger boats to keep them moving along on the water.
Josline says the popularity of the lake spurred the need for the speed limit. He says it’s a favorite vacation spot for people from Iowa, South Dakota and Minnesota and he says there’s a high amount of traffic. Joslin says the group that asked for the speed limit says seven of the nine fatal accidents involving speed on the lakes in the last 50 years occurred at sunset. There will be a public meeting on the issue January 24 in Des Moines and a second January 26th at the Arnolds Park City Hall. Joslin says they’ll take information from the public hearings and move forward with the process.