Patrick Hoye, the chief of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau, is warning motorists that the period between now and Labor Day is one of the busiest and most dangerous times of the year on Iowa roads.

“This time of year is, sadly, one of the most deadliest in Iowa,” Hoye said. “The past few years, August has been the deadliest month for people traveling in Iowa.” There were 36 people killed in traffic crashes on Iowa roadways last August. This year, there have been at least 14 traffic-related fatalities in August, with two full weeks left in the month.

A special traffic enforcement project was launched statewide today and will continue through the upcoming holiday as Iowa law officers try to improve roadway safety. “We are asking our law enforcement partners to step up their impaired driving efforts and of course, speeding and texting and driving are also major causations in crashes,” Hoye said.

Over the three-day Labor Day weekend last year, 10 people were killed in crashes on Iowa roads. According to Hoye, four of the 10 were alcohol related. “A lot of times, what goes with the social events that happen as the summer is closing out – a lot of those events will include alcohol and that’s why we’re seeing some of those higher alcohol fatality counts,” Hoye said.

So far this year, 191 people have died in crashes on Iowa roadways. A total of 329 people were killed in crashes across the state in 2017. That was down from 402 fatalities in 2016.