Despite Pandemic, Traffic Deaths Did NOT Fall in 2020
Despite a pandemic that limited the travel of most Americans and Iowans in 2020, the state did not see a fall in the level of traffic related deaths last year as hoped. The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports that preliminary date from the Iowa Department of Transportation shows that at least 336 people were killed on Iowa roadways in 2020. That is the same number of deaths recorded in 2019.
DOT officials say that when the pandemic first began and Governor Reynolds began shutting down businesses, transportation officials were hopeful that would translate into a fall in the number of traffic deaths in the state. In fact, officials told the Gazette that the volume of traffic and traffic accidents in April, May, and June of 2020 were the lowest they've seen in 10 years for a three month total. So what happened?
DOT officials say that the summer months saw many Iowans return to normal activities outside. The number of crashes during summer months were on par with previous years, according to the Gazette. But July and August were particularly deadly. Fatalities during those two months alone were the highest of any two month period in the last 10 years.
Officials say there were many factors that led to the high numbers in 2020, but the number one factor was high speed. More crashes were attributed to excessive speed in 2020 than during the past five years. Other factors included alcohol and not wearing a seatbelt.
So buckle up, and slow down Iowa.