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Iowa Traffic Fatalities on the Rise in 2016

September 2016

According to the Iowa Department of Transportation, there have been 276 deaths from motor vehicle accidents so far in 2016, an increase of 18.45 percent from last year. That is more than one death per day. At this rate, it is estimated that Iowa will experience close to 400 fatalities from traffic accidents this year. While winter driving conditions contribute to their share of traffic accidents, the highest death rates happen during the summer months.

Causes of Traffic Crashes

The most common cause of traffic crashes is speeding, but other factors that contribute to roadside fatalities include:

  • Impaired driving
  • Aggressive driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Drowsy driving
  • Not buckling

For decades, drivers have been warned of the hazards of driving while impaired, driving aggressively and not buckling their seat belts. Statistics involving distracted driving and drowsy driving have been brought to the forefront only recently. Excessive cell phone usage, either by texting or talking, removes the full attention of the driver from the road. Longer work shifts and crowded scheduling exhaust people beyond the ability to stay awake, alert and focused, mimicking the signs of driving while intoxicated. It is just as important to educate about the dangers of drowsy driving and distracted driving as it is to discuss drunk driving.


Safety should be the top priority for drivers: both the safety of the driver and their passengers and the safety of pedestrians and other drivers on the road. The Iowa Zero Fatalities website lists five of the top safety practices every driver should have.

  • Slow Down – two-thirds of fatalities are linked to speeding or aggressive driving
  • Drive Sober – operating while intoxicated (OWI) caused 29 percent of fatal crashes in 2013
  • Stay Focused – one-quarter of car crashes were caused by distracted driving
  • Keep Alert – being awake for 18 straight hours is the equivalent of a 0.08 percent BAC
  • Buckle Up – seat belts are the single most effective safety tool in a crash

For motorcyclists who want to learn more about motorcycle safety, the Iowa Department of Transportation has established a Motorcycle Safety Program dedicated to providing motorcycle safety resources.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a serious auto accident, contact Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben at 612-377-7777 or toll free at 1-800-752-4265. The board-certified motorcycle and car accident attorneys will work to get you the best help possible to cover unexpected costs and give you peace of mind. The experienced personal injury firm serves car accident victims in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

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