August 31, 2020
This year has been one that many of us would like to put behind us. From COVID-19 to Derecho, we’ve learned a whole new vocabulary related to disasters many didn’t see coming or have any control over.
There is one devastating tragedy you can avoid; it just takes a little effort. In 2020 traffic fatalities were going down significantly as fewer people were on Iowa roads. The number of fatalities in July and August has grown to alarming numbers. Higher speeds are one cause. There are things you can do every time you get behind the wheel that will help drive those numbers back down.
As if a global pandemic wasn’t enough this year, on Aug. 10, a windstorm of catastrophic proportions hit Iowa. Iowa Department of Transportation forces mobilized to the impacted areas within hours of the storm. Iowa DOT crews from more than 50 garages around the state hauled tens of thousands of truckloads of debris from nearly 40 cities and towns for the last few weeks. Almost every day, hundreds of DOTers used our trucks, loaders, excavators, and other equipment to get Iowa neighborhoods cleared of debris so people can begin the rebuilding process on damaged homes and other structures.
Prior to Aug. 10, few of us had ever heard the term “derecho.” We are all now very aware of the damage and destruction this “land hurricane” can cause.
It has been one heck of a year, and it’s not over yet. While Iowa’s traffic fatalities were down significantly in the early part of the COVID-19 crisis, the numbers are moving in the wrong direction with 44 fatalities in July, the highest number for that month since 2007.
Just like every other aspect of our lives, we each have to take personal responsibility to do what it takes to get through each situation. When you’re behind the wheel, the easiest and most effective way to make sure you get through your trip alive is to buckle up.
Seat belts and traffic safety are a serious business, but these days, we all need to have a little fun - https://youtu.be/cTw7yPnpDoM
For 2020, there have been 189 fatalities reported. That is an increase of 14 since last Monday. 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
Chill out – slow down and don’t drive aggressively
Driver sober – no drugs or alcohol
Focus on the road – minimize distractions
Stay alert – pull over and rest or switch drivers if you’re tired
Buckle up – every seat, every trip
These habits seem like common sense, but anyone who has been on the road sees drivers who struggle to do all five all the time.
Do you have a new driver in the house? Help them develop safe driving habits from the beginning… https://youtu.be/KZuwtUTYkmE
For 2020, there have been 175 fatalities reported. That is an increase of nine since last Monday. 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
Last year, 52 children in the U.S. died in hot cars. How do these deaths happen? The majority happen either when parents or caregivers forget there is a child in the vehicle, or when a child climbs into a vehicle to play and becomes trapped.
What can be done to save children from this fate?
When you’re driving around Iowa, do you ever wonder why certain bridges or pieces of the transportation system look different than others? Did you know that many times there is public art built into these structures that have meaning? A recent project connecting northbound Interstate 35 to U.S. 30 near Ames tells an interesting tale of the connection between a university, technology, and transportation.
As you may know, the world’s first electric digital computer was built at Iowa State University by John Vincent Atanasoff and Clifford Berry. This Atanasoff-Berry Computer (ABC) propelled the world into the digital age.
When a new flyover bridge connecting northbound I-35 to westbound U.S. 30 was proposed, the Iowa Department of Transportation’s bridge aesthetics expert, Kimball Olson, devised a plan to incorporate the invention of the ABC into the art of the structure.
The 80th City of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is set to begin Aug. 7. This 10-day event attracts motorcyclists from all over the country, many of whom will be riding through Iowa on their way to the South Dakota destination. In addition, warmer months always bring more motorcycles out on Iowa roads. Motorists and motorcyclists need to be watching out for each other and sharing the road.