A long list of fatal highway crashes this year in Iowa have the same factor — they began when one driver ran a stop sign, or stopped but then pulled out into the path of another vehicle.

Scott Falb keeps statistics on accidents and fatalities as a driver safety specialist with the Iowa Department of Transportation. He says in the last two weeks there have been at least fifteen fatal crashes in Iowa, and five of them, fully a third of the roadway deaths, were cases in which people pulled away from stop signs into the path of other traffic. He adds that three of those were motorcyclists.

The other big factor was speed, as he says it’s considered the main factor in seven fatal crashes recently. He says the speeding-related and right-of-way crashes happen both in cities and on country roads. Falb says the fact is that if a vehicle’s going over forty miles an hour and hits another vehicle, it’s possible to have a fatality, even on a street in the city.

Falb says a moment of inattention is all it takes. In the recent two-week period when the heat has been so blistering, he says “it seems to affect drivers’ ability to concentrate.” He says drivers can get into a routine, and that leaves them less alert.

Rural crashes occur in areas where people drive regularly and they’re used to a certain set of conditions. “What happens is that they have their crash when those conditions change and they don’t alter their driving to fit the new conditions.” For the latest State Patrol accident reports online, surf to “accident reports dot-Iowa dot-gov.”