A new video reminds us that we simply aren't paying enough attention behind the wheel. Thankfully, in this case, it was a lesson that didn't cost any lives.

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This is the fourth story I've written in the last week-and-a-half involving accidents that, in my mind, should've never happened. Iowa, we have to do better. Right now, before more lives are lost.

In a video posted by the Iowa State Patrol, Trooper Tylor Fairbanks of Marion was communicating with the driver of a vehicle on Highway 218, near I-80 in Coralville, when a full-size truck crashes into the driver's side of the vehicle. As you'll see, there's no warning. The trooper has no idea what's about to happen before it actually does. It's a frightening video, but thankfully the Iowa State Patrol says everyone was able to walk away.

If you listen closely to the audio in the video below, Trooper Fairbanks reports the accident to his dispatcher three seconds after the crash. Three seconds. That's before the truck had even fully stopped. That's incredible work by that trooper.

Trooper Fairbanks attended Marion High School, where he played football and baseball. The Eagle Scout could've easily lost his life that night as could the other two people who were involved.

These types of accidents are far too common. Last week I shared the story of a distracted driver in Johnson County who crashed into a semi that was disabled across I-80. Amazingly, no one was killed in that accident, either.

Also last week, a semi driver in Linn County was cited for texting and driving when he crashed into the back of a tractor and implement. The driver of the farm tractor was injured.

Two days ago, a tow truck operator in eastern Iowa was struck and killed while out of his truck assisting a bus that was broken down.

For anyone that doesn't know, Iowa has a "Move Over or Slow Down" law. Here are the specifics of the law, from the Iowa DOT:

  1. Change lanes or slow down, absent any other direction from a peace officer, when approaching the following vehicles, as provided in (Iowa Code section 321.323A):
    • A stationary emergency vehicle that has its flashing lights activated.
    • A stationary tow, recovery, maintenance, construction, solid waste or recycling collection vehicle that has its flashing lights activated.
    • Any stationary motor vehicle, including a passenger vehicle, that is continually displaying its emergency signal lamps (i.e., standard hazard lights).
  2. Yield the right of way to an emergency vehicle displaying flashing lights or giving an audible signal by moving over to the right, stopping and waiting until the vehicle has passed before proceeding. (Iowa Code section 321.324).

If you violate the above Iowa codes, the fine Is $100 plus surcharge and court costs.

If convicted of a violation that resulted in a crash and damage to the property of someone else, including bodily damage or death, your license will be suspended with 30 days' notice, without a preliminary hearing. This is the breakdown of suspension length:

  • Property damage of someone else, but no bodily injury or death: 90 days
  • Bodily injury to someone else: 180 days
  • Causing death: One year

If convicted of causing bodily injury or death to someone else, there could be an additional fine of $500 (causing bodily injury to another) or $1,000 (causing death of another).

Please move over or slow down and put your phone away. Doing all of these things just might help you, or someone else, stay alive. There's nothing that's worth more than that.

Iowa DOT
Iowa DOT

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