Iowa State Patrol aims to reduce fatal crashes with ‘High 3′ enforcement project

The Iowa State Patrol is participating in a special traffic enforcement project
The Iowa State Patrol is participating in a special traffic enforcement project
Published: Mar. 18, 2023 at 5:25 PM CDT
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COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (WOWT) - In Southwest Iowa, there’s a deadly increase in traffic fatalities on two-lane roadways and it’s becoming a cause for concern.

The Iowa State Patrol is participating in what’s called the High 3 Enforcement Project after seeing an increase in traffic fatalities.

“You never know what could happen it could go from 0 to 100,” said Iowa State trooper Nate Elwood.

The purpose of the project is to enforce motor vehicle laws and make roadways safer. Specifically, it aims to have state troopers spend more time on two-lane roadways for at least a day once a month.

From speedy drivers to expired plates, Iowa State troopers need to be prepared for the worst.

“We’re gonna come out here and look for all sorts of violations,” Elwood said. “This is supposed to be a speed project mainly checking speed, distracted driving, reckless driving, and expired plates.”

That’s why they’re taking part in the “High 3″ project targeting Highway 2, Highway 34 and Highway 92 in the Council Bluffs area. They registered as the worst highways for fatalities in the past three years.

Iowa Public Resource Officer Ryan DeVault says the project was inspired after they recorded nearly 1,700 crashes with 60 fatalities from 2020 to 2022 on two-lane roadways in Southwest Iowa.

DeVault says these numbers are concerning.

“It’s a matter of putting our resources where we think we could make an impact on the motoring public and hopefully decrease the fatalities we’re seeing in our county,” DeVault said.

According to trooper Devault, data shows the fatalities were also caused by not wearing a seatbelt, distracted driving and drunk driving.

It’s those three things troopers are looking for. But, have you wondered how a state trooper catches a car on a highway? They do it through a radar. It can track a car’s speed from a mile away.

While technology in the field can help troopers catch people speeding on rural highways, Elwood said the job is mostly about keeping people safe.

“They got someone they got to call when in need,” Elwood said. “When someone calls for help, it’s probably the worst in their lives.”

DeVault says this year they’ve already recorded 58 fatalities on Iowa roadways. He is hopeful this project gets motorists to “put the driving back into driving.”