Last Updated: 6/20/2024

Unfortunately, in 2023 we saw 360 people die in car crashes in Iowa. This is a 10% increase from 2022 and the highest number of deaths on our roadways since 2016. 

In a staggering 46% of these deaths the person was not wearing a seat belt and in another 13 percent seat belt use could not be determined. Of the 360 deaths, 107 of these people were not in cars with the deaths of 27 pedestrians, 62 motorcycle riders, 12 ATV/UTV occupants, and 5 bicycle riders. 

These are sobering statistics, but what can you and your family do to stay safe?

Wear a seatbelt:

166 of the motorists killed in 2023 in Iowa were not wearing a seatbelt. For most of us, it is a habit to put on your seat belt anytime you get into a car. If it is not a habit for you and your family, you can make it a habit by putting a sticky note on your steering wheel to remind you every time you get into your car. It is also the law in Iowa to wear a seat belt and if you are found guilty you face a fine of $50 plus court costs and surcharges which could easily exceed $100. 

Another thing to consider is if you are in a car crash that is the other driver’s fault and you are not wearing a seat belt then you can be assigned up to 25% fault for not doing so. This means that if your damages are $100,000 then you will only receive $75,000 if the judge or jury determines that failing to wear a seat belt contributed to your injuries. All you do is have to wear a seat belt to avoid physical and financial harm. 

Drive defensively: 

Statistics show that distracted driving is the cause or at least a contributing factor in 25% of all motor vehicle crashes. So, it may very well be true that the other driver is on their phone and not paying attention to the roadway. 

Defensively driving can mean lots of things, but for example keeping at least 3 car lengths between yourself and the vehicle in front of you, having your foot near the brake as you are approaching an intersection when you see another vehicle that may pull out in front of you and generally try to anticipate others not paying attention or follow the traffic laws. 

Pay attention and avoid distracted driving:

Distracted driving takes several forms with cell phone use being at the top of the list. It seems that many Iowans continue to ignore the law that prohibits them from texting and driving. You see people looking down at their phones while they are driving instead of looking at the road. 

This is not only very dangerous but is also illegal. Would you want your child or grandchild to drive a vehicle while looking at their phone? Please set a good example for younger drivers and put your phone away while you are driving a vehicle. No call or text is worth a life of misery or death. 

Slow down

Each year approximately 1/3 of the total deaths in the United States are caused by speeding. This means each year around 12,000 are killed on the roadways because of speeding and hundreds of thousands or more are injured. It is much better to be late for something than not arrive at all. If you feel like you are always late for appointments then make it a habit to give yourself at least 15 extra minutes in case you run into traffic on your route. Driving fast is a recipe for an accident. 

Avoid aggressive driving:

We have all seen the driver who cuts in and out of traffic to gain 2 or 3 spots in front of other vehicles. Are they late for an appointment? Do they have an emergency? No, this is not likely as some drivers treat driving like a video game and do not take into consideration the real consequences that a car crash can cause to themselves, their family, and to others that they injure. 

Driving aggressively is not only going to annoy other drivers, but you may also encounter another aggressive driver causing more bad things to happen. If you encounter an aggressive driver the best thing to do is ignore them. 

Making finger gestures, rolling down your window, and yelling or doing other things in anger is only likely to provoke the aggressive driver more. If you feel threatened by the driver then you can call 911, take a video or picture of the driver, and proceed to a safe location like a police station. 

Avoid using alcohol or drugs while driving:

This probably goes without saying, but drivers who are at the legal alcohol limit of .08 BAC are 4 times more likely to be in a car crash than sober drivers. At a BAC of .15 the chances of being involved in a car crash increase to 12 times more likely than a sober driver. Also, if you are in a car crash while you are intoxicated and someone is injured or killed then you are looking at a prison sentence of 5 to 25 years. 

While marijuana and THC usage has increased in Iowa, so has the number of people arrested for driving while drugged. If you are stopped by a police officer and they suspect that you are under the influence of drugs then they can ask you to take a urine or blood test. If you refuse, then your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for 1 to 2 years depending upon if you have had a prior revocation or not. 

If you, a family member, friend, or co-worker are dealing with injuries from a car accident then they should learn the 7 Secrets to Not Wreck Your Claim. 

The legal insiders guide to iowa car accidentsWe offer our Iowa car accident book at no cost or risk because after having represented hundreds of Iowans injured in car accidents our personal injury attorneys have seen the consequences of Iowan's costly mistakes. We are committed to educating you, so you can avoid making a mistake. 


What do other Iowans have to say about our book?

"Gives you a step-by-step guide about car accidents." Randy of Perry

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Finally, you can learn about car accidents in the comfort of your own home with no risk or obligation. If you or a loved one have been hurt in a car accident and do not have an attorney claim your copy and join the hundreds of Iowans who already have the book by going to

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Corey Walker
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With over 28 years legal experience, Corey has been recognized for his work as an injury attorney.