SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – Each year, local authorities investigate traffic fatalities across Siouxland, but 2020 proved to be an especially tough year for both state and local officers.
According to the Iowa DOT, their latest traffic fatality count confirmed 337 deaths in 2020. Even though that’s an increase of two fatalities from 2019, it’s significant when you take into account traffic went down due to the pandemic.
Sgt. Jeremy McClure with the Sioux City Police Department said the last two years saw a major increase in fatalities locally.
“Last year, we saw seven accidents. The year before, we saw eight fatality accidents. The years previous to that, we only saw about two accidents per year,” said Sgt. McClure.
Sgt. McClure said a key factor in each of those accidents was speed, a common problem within the city limits.
“Between officers writing tickets and the speed cameras that used to be on the Interstates, we had over 11,000 citations that were issued last year,” said Sgt. McClure, Sioux City Police.
An action that not only puts you and others in danger but could increase insurance rates for you and your community if you get into an accident.
“We all have to pay for the number of accidents that occur in our community and the number of citations that occur,” said Sgt. McClure.
But Sgt. McClure said the numbers don’t tell the whole story.
“A single fatality accident has a great ripple through a community,” said Sgt. McClure.
After 20 years on the job, he mentions it’s personal.
“There’s a huge disconnect when you see the numbers to when you actually are the one that has to pick up someone on the side of the road or make that notification to a family,” said Sgt. McClure, Sioux City Police.
All the more reason he adds to follow the rules of the road.
“It definitely takes an emotional toll, and then we become a little more passionate about what we do and why we do it,” said Sgt. McClure.
A few guidelines for drivers to follow:
- In Iowa, you must slow down when the light turns yellow if it’s safe to do so.
- Many of those accidents occurred not only on the highways but in the intersections too.
- If you’re at the intersection and the light turns green, give yourself at least half a second to make sure the intersection is clear.