Law enforcement officials in the Hawkeye state say that a traffic safety goal they had set for 2021 will, unfortunately, miss the mark.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette says the goal was to keep traffic fatalities to less than 300. As of last Friday, with 5-6 weeks left in the year, they say that number is already at 312. The Iowa Department of Public Safety said that outpaces traffic fatalities for the same period last year and it's actually been quite a while since it was kept at that threshold of 300.

Law enforcement will now strive to keep fatalities at bay the rest of the year

The new goal is to not reach 2016 numbers, which saw nearly 400 speeding deaths on Iowa roads. Distracted driving and speeding have both been on the upswing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and were the main points of focus for law enforcement officers in their campaign to curb road fatalities. The Iowa State Patrol reported issuing 1,497 speeding citations in 2020 — more than double the previous year's 659 total.

Stepping up their enforcement ahead of the holidays

Heading into the holiday travel season, officials are concerned. The Gazette says that last year, between November 15 and 28, 13 deaths occurred. Gas prices are on the rise compared to this time last year also, almost $1 more per gallon according to AAA. Despite that, they are expecting heavier traffic volume this year, perhaps due to folks missing family and friends afar due to lockdown and quarantine. Over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house you go, but please minimize distractions while driving to get there.

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