DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) – It’s been a deadly year on Iowa roads. The Iowa Department of Transportation reports, at this time last year, there were 227 traffic deaths. So far this year there have been 270 and those motor vehicle fatalities are on the rise all across the nation.
“In Iowa, we have well over 100 reported crashes on an average day, and in Iowa unfortunately, we have about one fatal crash everyday in our state,” Trooper Dan Loussaert with the Iowa State Patrol said.
He says compared to this time last year fatal crashes are up about 20 percent.
“It looks like we’ll be closer to 400 fatalities this year,” Loussaert said.
Some drivers on the roadway say that’s a scary statistic to hear about.
“That’s sad, enough people die for stupid reasons, they don’t need to increase them,” David, of Chapaign, Ill., said.
Loussaert says the top three causes of traffic crashes are people speeding, driving distracted or getting behind the wheel intoxicated.
Drivers like David, and Cliff Barber, of Chicago, say their biggest concern is distracted drivers who are using their phones.
“You see it now more often,” Barber said.
“When I see people texting and driving, it makes me uncertain that they’re paying attention and that they’re more prone to an accident,” David said.
Loussaert says with the days getting shorter, the lack of visibility adds to the dangerous mix.
“That sun is more of an issue during those commuter hours and will become even a bigger issue during those commuter hours in the morning when we’re going to work and in the late afternoon or early evening when we’re coming home,” he said. “It just doesn’t help the distracted aspect of it.”
“It makes me more cautious there’s not much I feel like I can do as an individual citizen about that,” Barber said.
That’s why Loussaert, David and Barber want people to put the phone down, keep their speeds down, and focus their attention on the road.
“For the sake of all of us, stay off your phones, particularly texting,” Barber said.
“Your life and other people’s lives are worth more than that text message,” David added.
“When we’re sitting behind that driver’s seat our main priority has to be driving that vehicle in a safe manner,” Loussaert said.
Loussaert wants to remind drivers to always buckle their seat belt.
“Cars are safer than they’ve ever been, but all that technology revolves around everybody staying in their seat and staying in that car and if you don’t have your seat belt on, you’re also a threat to any other person that may be in that vehicle with you,” he said.
Loussaert says this is the time of the year large farm machinery is out and about, and he wants to remind drivers to look out for it, as well.