The state of Iowa is on a pace to have one of the lowest highway death rates in years. As of Thursday (December 29), state numbers show there were 352 deaths,  or 32 below the total for 2010. It would be the fourth consecutive year the state has been below 400 traffic deaths.

Iowa State Patrol Captain, Mike Winter, says a lack of snow and ice have helped. “The weather has really cooperated with us this year, it looks like good weather this weekend and I think the same thing is going to prevail. I think the roads will be good, the weather’s going to be good. Everybody just needs to keep an eye on everybody else and hopefully drive safely,” Winter says.

He says the state patrol doesn’t have any special efforts planned for the holiday weekend. “The nice thing is over the last few years, the word usually gets out through the media, and it seems like everybody uses designated drivers over the New Year’s Ever holiday,” according to Winter.

Winter says the officers that are out will be on the lookout for people who are drinking and driving or committing other violations. “We just encourage everybody to drive safely, make sure you have a designated driver, and watch out for the other driver,” Winter says.

Today is expected to be a busy travel day with two Iowa teams playing in bowl games, according to Winter. There were 384 traffic deaths in the state in 2010, 368 in 2009, 398 in 2008 and 2007 was the last year over 400 with a total of 425.