Five-state force to crack down on speeders

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Five statewide law enforcement agencies of neighboring states are uniting to urge motorists to slow down following a year of excessive speeding. The Arkansas State Police, Iowa State Patrol, Kansas Highway Patrol, Missouri State Highway Patrol and Nebraska State Patrol all report a dramatic increase in excessive speeding citations that began around the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2020, as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic, states across the country, including Iowa, saw a reduction in vehicular traffic. Unfortunately, less traffic did not equate to fewer fatalities on Iowa roadways, and there was a drastic increase in excessive speeding, which has continued into the first three months of 2021.

The Iowa State Patrol’s primary goal in 2021 is to reduce traffic-related fatalities to fewer than 300, a rate unseen since 1925. The number of traffic citations issued in Iowa for speeding in 2020 was more than double the 2019 number.

“When you think about all of the enhanced safety features in today’s vehicles and superior road design that help prevent crashes, it becomes very clear that the prevailing factor in why the fatality rate remains so high is drivers taking unnecessary risks,” said Major Randy Kunert of the Iowa State Patrol.

Kunert said the collaboration between neighboring State Patrols is a way to enhance awareness of a very dangerous problem, in hopes of changing driver behavior.

“Partnering with other state and local law enforcement agencies is a great start, but we need the public’s help,” said Kunert. “The power to reduce traffic-related serious injury and fatality crashes is in everyone’s hands. Drive safe Iowa.”

Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska compose Region 7 of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Each state in the region tracked the increase of excessive speeding in different ways, but every method told the same story: A year that felt incredibly long was also the fastest on the roads in recent memory.

The following comparative table shows the increases in excessive speeding citations tracked by each statewide law enforcement agency.

Arkansas State Police Iowa State Patrol Kansas Highway Patrol Missouri State Highway Patrol Nebraska State Patrol
89% 108% 68% 82% 70%

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