OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Nebraska State Patrol troopers are urging motorists to drive safely after a number of patrol car collisions. Since the beginning of the year, about three Nebraska State Patrol cars and about 10 Iowa State Patrol cars have been struck.
According to Iowa State Patrol Trooper Ryan Devault, that number is cause for concern.
"It’s kind of alarming to us that we’re seeing numbers that high. We expect to see a little bit of damage that takes place...a few instances here and there most winters...but this one's definitely seemed a little over the top for us," said Devault.
State troopers are reminding drivers of the "Move Over" law, which requires motorists to give at least one lane of courtesy or slow down if a lane change isn't possible when there's an emergency vehicle stopped on the side of the road.
"It is required by law. It’s safer for us and it is safer for the driver as well," said Captain Mike Sutter, Troop A Commander of the Nebraska State Patrol. "The reality of it is that the vast majority of our business that is done, is done roadside so there’s always an inherent risk in being out there on the side of the road."
Troopers said the collisions are often a result of reckless driving. Sutter said attentiveness, excessive speeds and driving intoxicated are some of the factors that lead to crashes.
Devault said, in Iowa, the number of citations given for driving over 100 miles per hour has more than doubled since the pandemic began.
"We more than doubled the amount of citations that we have written over 100 miles per hour. If you really think about that, we’re talking 30 miles an hour over the speed limit on Interstate 80 or on a three-lane road. It’d be a little less than that but absolutely excessive...it’s negligent speed," Devault said.
Sutter said those safe driving practices are even more important in times of inclement weather, and with snow in the forecast, he's reminding everyone to slow down.
"Coming off of a few days of warmer weather that we’ve had, it is easy to forget about the rules of driving in inclement weather. But given that snow is going to be upon us soon again, it looks like, it is a good idea to slow down, increase following distance, allow more time to get from point a to point b and be cognizant of your surroundings," Sutter said.