October 17, 2017
It’s National Teen Driver Safety Week. As parents, we might feel like our kids don’t pay attention to what we do, but they’ve likely been watching your driving habits for a long time. What have they learned?
Parents - this time of year, the weather will be getting tricky, even for experienced drivers. Imagine what it is like for a teen who has limited experience driving in snow? Before you hand over the keys as the snow flies, spend a little time from the passenger seat talking your young driver through some of the special winter driving precautions.
Iowa’s non-profit organizations have a new, inexpensive way to promote themselves using Iowa’s license plates. Iowa law changes that took effect earlier this year now allow the Iowa Department of Transportation to produce license plates with a space for a decal promoting a non-profit organization.
For years groups have been able to apply for what is known as an “emblem” license plate. Currently, we have approximately 40 emblem plates in production, and it can be difficult for county treasurer’s offices, especially in smaller counties, to manage the inventory for all the different license plate variations.
“The decal plate option will make inventory management easier for county treasurers and make it easier for non-profit groups to get their message out,” said LaVonne Short of the Iowa DOT’s Office of Vehicle & Motor Carrier Services, “The application process for a group to get an emblem plate required 500 paid applications before the plate would be produced. Over the years we’ve had dozens of groups qualified for an emblem plate, but they couldn’t muster up 500 paid applications within the year time frame allowed.”
Preparing for Iowa’s transportation future means understanding not only the present and future needs but also studying the past. At the Iowa Department of Transportation, our environmental unit within the Office of Location and Environment is staffed by experts in wetlands, endangered species, air quality, traffic noise/vibration, regulated materials, and historical and cultural resources.
Iowa has about 9,400 miles of state-managed roads and 4,100 bridges under our care. Many of these roads and bridges were built decades ago and are in need of repair and updating to meet the transportation needs of today and into the future. When a need is identified, our engineers study many options to solve the problem. They prepare alternatives that are studied from many angles, one of which is the impact of the project on the surrounding land.
If you spend much time on multi-lane highways, you’ll probably run into those drivers who think the left lane was put in specifically for them. That might be true, as long as the vehicles using the left lane are passing slower vehicles in the right lane.
On a highway of four lanes or more, the right lane in each direction is considered the driving lane and the left lane, the passing lane. Although the Iowa DOT has 695 “SLOWER TRAFFIC KEEP RIGHT” signs posted on the Primary Highway System, not all drivers notice them or understand the meaning behind the signs. Others see the signs and think it gives them the right to tailgate or otherwise endanger the safety of slower traffic that might be in the left lane.
On July 27, Jerald Kloppenborg and his wife were in their truck headed home to Nebraska. Kloppenborg knew he had a wheel seal leaking, but he was sure he could make it the 250 miles back home to fix it. “We were on I-380 between Waterloo and Cedar Rapids,” Kloppenborg said, “The weigh station was open, so we pulled in.”