May 30, 2019
In the years since the meaning has broadened to include all those friends and family members who have gone before us. It’s a day to visit cemeteries and decorate gravesites.
For those loved ones who have tragically died in crashes, Memorial Day can be just one more difficult day for friends and family to endure. What makes the day even more tragic is that the majority of those deaths could have been prevented.
What does it mean to be impaired? Maybe you’ve had a couple of drinks, but you don’t consider yourself to be drunk. Or you may have taken a drug (legal or otherwise) that makes you feel not quite yourself.
If you have to ask, “am I okay to drive?” You already have your answer.
While the legal blood alcohol limit in Iowa is .08, impairment can come at much lower levels and both legal and illegal drugs can cause impairment.
Do you remember when you got your first driver’s license or state-issued identification card? If you’re like most of us, there was a sense of pride and dignity in holding that piece of plastic. For many in Iowa’s correctional institutions, that sense of pride has been lost due to a loss of driving privileges. Regaining that sense of identity, whether that’s a driver’s license or an ID card, provides a fresh start and a vital element of future success.
The reasons behind the loss of a license are varied from the card simply expiring while someone is incarcerated to traffic offenses and fines that have caused driving privileges to be suspended. Working with the Iowa Department of Corrections to renew driver’s licenses or IDs to offenders on the path to release is one of the programs the Iowa Department of Transportation has championed for many years.
Snapping friends on social media can be a fun way to stay connected. A quick pic here and there allows you to “see” into the daily life of those you care about. But snapping while you are behind the wheel is extremely dangerous. It takes your focus off the task of driving and puts you at a greater risk of being involved in a crash.
The good news is there is a good snap that is encouraged behind the wheel-the snap of your seat belt. This particular snap is a welcome sound to help keep you and your passengers safer in the event of a crash.
So buckle up! You never know what’s in store for your ride - https://youtu.be/yKHUGvde7KU
For 2019, there have been 96 fatalities reported. That’s an increase of seven since last Monday. The 2018 fatality count stands at 316. This is subject to change as law enforcement reports are completed. To see statistics published daily by the Office of Driver Services, go to the daily fatality report at https://www.iowadot.gov/mvd/stats/daily.pdf.
We’re all in this together. All Iowa state agencies have a goal of serving our citizens in the most effective and efficient manner possible. This goal is reached even more quickly when we work together.
Recently the Iowa Department of Transportation was honored to receive awards for two collaborative programs. Being recognized was great, but an even larger sense of accomplishment comes from knowing we’re doing all we can to make Iowa a great place to live.
Consider this. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speeding killed 9,717 people in the United States in 2017. That indicates that the lives of 26 percent of the those killed in traffic-related crashes might have been spared if someone simply slowed down.
But honestly, fatalities can rarely be traced back to just one bad behavior. People who tend to have a lead foot also tend to not wear seat belts. For 2016, NHTSA reports 49 percent of speeding drivers in fatal crashes were also unbelted.
We’re all busy and need to get from one place to another. A little planning can go a long way to improve safety on our roads. Consider leaving a few minutes earlier than normal and driving the speed limit. We’ll all be safer that way.