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Ola Babcock Miller spear headed and created the Iowa Highway Patrol in 1935 to make Iowa's roadways safer to travel.: Ola Babcock Miller (1871 - 1937)

Ola Babcock Miller (1871 - 1937)
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Iowa Highway Patrol

Ola Babcock Miller was the first Women in Iowa to become the Iowa State Secretary of state. When she found that she was running for office – as a reward form the Democratic Party – Miller never dreamed she could win, yet she swept into office in 1932 on the coattails of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, despite having won by fewer than 3,000 votes.

Just before Ola Babcock Miller took office of the Secretary of State one of her friends lost her five year old son in an automobile accident. Miller began to advocate tirelessly for a uniformed state road patrol.

Without money, authorization or blessing of the legislature Miller took the 15 motor license inspectors and assigned them six or seven counties and told them to look for unsafe vehicles and unsafe drivers, and advised them of their driving habits or ticket them. She was adamant that they always be courteous and also spread the word about highway safety.

They also gave numerous speeches to high schools, clubs, and other organizations around the state promoting highway safety. In that first year highway deaths decreased by 69, accidents by 3,400and personal injuries by 3,800 resulting in a 15 percent decline in serious and fatal accidents. Due to these dramatic declines in highway accidents and deaths, Ola Babcock Miller was able to get the Iowa Legislature to pass House File 67 in 1935, establishing the Iowa State Highway Safety Patrol. Her foresight and desire to make Iowa’s roadways safer, was beyond others at the time, and the impact has been insurmountable ever since.

Ola Babcock Miller was one of the first four women to be inducted into the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame in 1975. In 1999 the Iowa Legislature authorized the name of the Old Historical Building on the State Capital Complex to be renamed the Ola Babcock Miller State Office Building.

 A ceremony honoring Iowa Peace Officers is being held today, May 18th at the Iowa Peace Officer Memorial in Des Moines to pay tribute to officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

For being a pioneer in highway safety and a continuing influence to the Iowa State Patrol we award our Hero by Example to Ola Babcock Miller. Accepting on behalf of the Iowa State Patrol was Lt. Randy Jones. 


Ola Babcock Miller poses with the first 15 motor vehicle inspectors in 1935. Miller is called the mother of the Iowa Highway Patrol.
Lt. Randy Jones accepted the award on behalf of the Iowa Highway Patrol.
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