July 1, 2020
For many of us, the extra time at home these last few months meant watching a lot of TV. Many businesses and locations were shut down or workers may be doing their jobs from home, resulting in a significant reduction in the amount of traffic on Iowa roadways.
During this slow-down, law enforcement officers from state and local agencies remain out on the roads. What they are seeing is eye-opening. It seems some drivers see less traffic as a green light to significantly exceed the speed limit. Law enforcement stopping speeders at more than 100 mph used to be rare, but recently has become all too common.
During the height of the pandemic, traffic was cut in half on some Iowa roads. With fewer cars on the road, it appears that some people saw less traffic as an opportunity to travel at much higher speeds.
Welcome back to Message Monday! With summer kicking into gear and more people getting out and about, we are seeing a significant uptick in speeding citations in Iowa, especially those drivers clocked at more than 25 miles per hour over the speed limit. The number of speeders ticketed for traveling 100+ mph has also gone up significantly.
The fact of the matter is that law enforcement is still out there doing their jobs and speeding, particularly excessive speeding, is never safe, no matter how much traffic is on the road. It decreases your reaction time and can be extremely dangerous if you come upon other traffic moving at a different speed than you are. As traffic continues to increase on the roads, drivers who are used to having an “open road” are going to need to be prepared to react to the actions of other drivers.
With the current pandemic, many of us are doing more of our business online. To make it easier for us to engage with you in a better and more efficient way, the Iowa Department of Transportation has implemented a robust chat feature on our website. While we were starting to implement the live chat portion prior to the pandemic, the health crisis caused us to speed up the implementation.
The state’s Office of the Chief Information Officer brought in the live chat product, Bold360, and made it available to all state agencies. The Iowa DOT launched the first phase of the chat feature on Oct. 23, 2019. with the most basic questions being answered using a database of pre-programed answers. Zhaia Wineinger from our Strategic Communications & Policy Bureau built the database of content that provides the automated answers from the chatbot.