NORTHWOOD, Iowa - Four people have died within the last week in North Iowa because one driver failed to stop at a stop sign at rural intersections.
In Worth County, one accident at County Highway 105 and Thrush Avenue just east of Northwood led to the deaths of two women in June 2016, and around that time, the county's secondary road department decided to take action using a fairly recent technology: LED stop signs.
Worth County installed the signs at three key rural intersections, including Highway 105 and Thrush, as well as 390th and Thrush, and 420th and Warbler, over a two month period in 2016.
According to Worth County engineer Richard Brumm, all three intersections have high traffic counts, prompting the need.
Teresa George-Zenz of Northwood has seen more LED signs across the border in Minnesota, and says more should be installed in Iowa in order to ensure everyone's safety, including at the corner next to her store in town.
"The one out here on the corner, it's just a big red flashing light, and you get used to that. And there's a big red light and it's not very bright, and sometimes it's not even on, so it would be nice to see a big led one out there, cuz there's a lot of traffic on that corner out here," George-Zenz says.
In addition, she believes that it's money well spent to prevent or reduce tragedies.
"It'd be pretty spendy, but for the long run for people's lives, it would be a good investment," George-Zenz adds.
According to Brumm, each LED sign costs around $3,000 per intersection.
A 2014 study from a partnership with the Local Road Research Board and MnDOT found that after LED stop signs were installed, drivers were significantly more likely to stop when opposing traffic was present. In addition, drivers were more likely to come to a complete stop at the intersections where the LED stop signs were in place.