Message Monday - Who hates speeding tickets? Raise your right foot

2-10 raise your right footIt’s no big deal to go five or ten miles over the speed limit, is it? Highway traffic safety officials set speed limits for a number of reasons. First, when traffic is traveling at a steady speed, drivers have a better idea of what to expect from other drivers. If you’re behind the wheel and moving much faster or slower than traffic, you have the potential to confuse the drivers around you, creating a higher potential for someone to do something unpredictable and cause a crash.

Another element in setting appropriate speed limits is the design of the road. Obviously, residential streets and interstates are going to have different speed limits. To help maintain consistency from town to town, the Iowa legislature has set standard speed limits (known as statutory speed limits) for some types of roads. These can be found in Iowa Code 321.285.

The most common statutory speeds:

  • 20 mph in business districts
  • 25 mph in residential and school districts
  • 45 mph in suburban districts
  • 55 mph on rural highways
  • 65 mph on selected multi-lane highways
  • 70 mph on rural interstate highways

Regulatory speed limits may differ from statutory speed limits and are put into place when traffic safety officials have determined that a particular area doesn’t fit the criteria for standard speed limits. These factors are considered:

  • road type and surface such as curves, hill, etc.
  • location and type of access points like intersections, entrances, etc.
  • existing traffic control devices such as signs, signals, etc.
  • crash history
  • traffic volume
  • sight distances
  • pedestrian activity
  • results of a field review and speed study

To help you understand how and why speed limits are set, check out

For 2020, there have been 23 fatalities reported. That’s an increase of five since last Monday. As of Feb. 7, 2020, the 2019 fatality count stands at 337. 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

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