CHP, Iowa St. Patrol, Sioux Co. Sheriff’s Office Mount Anti-Distracted Driving Campaign

Date posted - March 6, 2012

Community Health Partners, the Iowa State Patrol, and the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office are announcing the beginning of the “Put it Down” Campaign.

The goal of the campaign is to reduce motor vehicle injuries by reducing the number of drivers who use electronic devices or engage in other types of distracted driving. The campaign evolved from the Community Health Needs Assessment in Sioux County which revealed Sioux County’s rate of motor vehicle injury rates as an area of concern.

DISTRACTED DRIVING is any non-driving activity a person engages in that has the potential to distract them from the primary task of driving and increases the risk of crashing. Distractions include: talking or texting on a cell phone, grooming, eating or drinking, changing radio stations, or talking to passengers. Lt. Darin Fratzke of the Iowa State Patrol recalls the tragic examples we’ve had in northwest Iowa; “One fatality accident due to distracted driving is one too many”.

Motor vehicle crashes are the LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH for teens in the United States and drivers under 20 years old have the highest proportion of distraction related fatal crashes. Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. Angela Kroeze Visser, Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Coordinator for Community Health Partners of Sioux County said, “Public health focuses on prevention and preventing injuries begins with changing behavior. We know that crashes and injuries can be prevented by putting down your phone.”

While cell phone use is not against the law for adult drivers, it is illegal for teen drivers. The Iowa law states that no teen driver holding a restricted driver’s license (GDL instructional permit, GDL intermediate license, minor school license, special restricted license) shall use ANY electronic communication device or electronic entertainment device while driving a motor vehicle including phone calls (even hands free) and texting. A violation of this law can cost up to $127.50. It can also result in additional restrictions or even a suspension of your license. Sioux County Sheriff Dan Altena believes distracted driving is one of the most important things parents can model and talk to their teens about. It could be a matter of life and death.

The “Put it Down” campaign will consist of a public education campaign including posters, display boards, PSA’s, in-school presentations, and enforcement of Iowa’s current texting law.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s office, the Iowa State Patrol, and local law enforcement will be giving in school presentations on the dangers of distracted driving at each of the high schools in Sioux County during the week of March 26. The public is welcomed and encouraged to attend those presentations. The dates and locations are:

  • Monday, March 26th

    • 2:45 PM — MOC/Floyd Valley
  • Tuesday, March 27th

    • 8:15 AM — Spalding Catholic
    • 9:54 AM — Unity Christian
    • 1:00 PM — West Sioux
  • Wednesday, March 28th

    • 9:20 AM — Western Christian
    • 11:30 AM — Trinity Christian
    • 1:30 PM — Sioux Center
  • Thursday, March 29th

    • 2:00 PM — Rock Valley
  • Friday, March 30th 10:45 AM . Boyden-Hull

    • 1:40 PM — Netherlands Reformed

For more information Contact: Angela Kroeze-Visser, MPH
Health Promotion Disease Prevention Coordinator
Phone: (712)737-2971

Deputy Waylon Pollema
Sioux County Sheriff’s Office
Phone: (712)737-2280

Trooper Vince Kurtz, Badge 495
Iowa State Patrol Post 6 Safety Education
Office: (712)262-1424

By Scott Van Aartsen
News Director

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