More people have died in traffic crashes in Iowa through the first two months of this year compared to the same period last year.
Iowa State Patrol Sergeant Nate Ludwig says there were 25 traffic fatalities in January and at least 23 this month. “Forty-eight through two months and we’re not done with February – that’s a lot,” Ludwig says. A total of 40 people died in traffic crashes on Iowa roads over the first two months of 2017.
Snow and ice were blamed for a lot of fatal crashes in recent weeks, but according to Ludwig, too many motorists fail to alter their driving habits in the winter. “Speed is the number one cause of all accidents, all fatalities, but the 92-car pile-up and the 70-plus car pile-up in Ames really show how people in Iowa are driving this winter. It’s basically just traveling too close together and too fast for the conditions,” Ludwig said.
The 70-plus car pile-up on Interstate 35 near Ames happened on February 5. Heavy snow and high winds swept across the entire state that day and contributed to traffic crashes that claimed nine lives. Just 12 days later, during another winter storm, the 92-car pile-up happened on I-35 near Huxley.
Ludwig is hoping motorists will reduce their speed when the next bad weather event strikes. “That’s the biggest thing, motorists just need to slow down,” Ludwig said. “We’re likely to get a storm sometime in March, so it’s going to be another driving check for people to slow down.”
Three Iowans were killed in two separate crashes on Monday night. A 42-year-old Fort Dodge woman was killed when her van crossed the center line on Highway 169 and collided with a pickup near Fort Dodge.
The other crash killed two people near Albia. Police say a man delivering pizzas was assaulted and the suspect stole his car. That car sped away and it collided with another vehicle on Highway 34 – killing both drivers, residents of Centerville and Allerton.