A report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says Iowa leads the country when it comes to having a low number of people killed in accidents related to speeding. Robert Thompson is with the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau. Thompson says 41 of Iowa’s 412 fatal accidents were speed-related in 2008, or about 10% of the fatal accidents.
He says that ranks as the top for the country. Arkansas was second in the nation at 10-point-five percent, and the next closest midwest state was Nebraska at 15%. Thompson says exceeding the posted speed limit is not the only thing involved in a speed-related fatality.
He says it’s generally a combination of exceeding the speed limit, or driving faster than the road conditions. So, you can have rainy or snowy conditions and a fatal crash where the person was driving faster than they should have been for the conditions at the time of the accident. Thompson credits the work of law enforcement at all levels in the state for helping keep the speed-related deaths down.
Thompson says agencies work well together and there is good speed enforcement with the state patrol and local law enforcement. He says the state also has an older population, which he says probably helps out too. Thompson says they still have areas to work on to reduce fatal accidents.
He says there are a lot of other factors that play into a fatal crash and one is wearing safetybelts. Thompson says we have a 93-percent compliance rate for safety belt use in the state, but there were still 150 traffic deaths a year where the victims were not buckled up, so they need to work to get more people to wear their safety belts.
Speed-related fatalities in 2008 included just two on Iowa’s interstate system, both on segments with 55 mile an hour speed limits. Nineteen speed-related fatalities occurred on 55 mile-an- hour roads with 17 occurring on roads with posted limits of 50 miles-an-hour or less.