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(Council Bluffs) -- Thursday would be a great day for motorists to slow down in KMAland.

Iowa State Patrol officials, in conjunction with various local law enforcement agencies, plan a statewide speed enforcement project Thursday. Trooper Ryan Devault is public resource officer with the patrol's Council Bluffs post. Devault tells KMA News the project is one of four special enforcement periods carried out through the year.

"These enforcement waves that we're doing--the four throughout the year," said Devault, "those were gathered and determined by the last 10 years of data, trying to help us with each different area of trying to drive down our fatality rate to below 300 people per year killed on Iowa roadways."

This year's Iowa Traffic Fatality Count showed 235 deaths on the state roadways in 2021 as of Tuesday. Devault says speeding was a major problem on Iowa's interstates last year, when COVID-19 first hit the state. He says excessive speed remains a major issue on all roadways this year.

"We have a good understanding that sometimes, things happen, and you don't understand how fast you're going," he said. "But, some of the triple digits we saw in 2020, I mean just the state patrol, alone, we wrote roughly 1,500 for over a hundred mph on Iowa roadways. That's just the state patrol--that's not counting your cities and counties that probably had some of those, themselves."

Devault says statistics show speeding continues to be a major factor in fatality accidents in the state.

"Realistically, about 50% of crashes that involve a lane departure probably involve increased speeds," said Devault. "Obviously, if you're not able to stop, or something comes out onto the road, and you're leaving the roadway, that's not a good thing. Obviously, the faster you are going on the road, the more increased chance for serious injury or death. In fact, every 10 mph over the speed limit you go, your chance of death doubles."

Devault adds the enforcement period takes place on ALL Iowa roads, including those in cities and rural areas.

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