Fatal Car Accidents at Record High, State Patrol Fearful of Increase over Holiday Weekend

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

DES MOINES, Iowa -- It's been a frustrating and troubling year for the Iowa State Patrol.

“These numbers are somebody's wife, husband, and kid. It's more than just a number to us and I don`t think that`s  resonating with people,” says Sergeant Nathan Ludwig.

So far, 395 people have died on Iowa roadways this year, a nearly decade high. In 40 - percent of the accidents, people have not been wearing their seat belts. Authorities say distracted driving and speed is also to blame.

On Christmas Eve, troopers helped prevent what could have been a fatal accident, clocking an SUV going 104 miles per hour on Interstate 80 through Dallas County.

Ludwig says, “I've talked to some troopers in the area and they said they’ve never seen so many vehicles traveling at 80,90,100 miles per hour on Christmas eve and Christmas day.”

The Iowa State Patrol responded to four fatal accidents of the Christmas holiday weekend.

Troopers are now preparing for what could be another busy weekend on Iowa roadways. According to Ludwig the New Year’s holiday typically isn’t a time when officials see a lot of fatalities or OWI’s because people know where they are going and plan for a ride home. However, authorities caution motorist this weekend to drive safely, citing mild weather conditions and clear roads could influence people to drive faster, resulting in an accident.