Des Moines, Iowa — The Labor Day weekend is fast approaching, so several northwest Iowa law enforcement agencies are advising KIWA news that they will again be participating in a period of stepped-up enforcement of highway laws.
The Iowa Department of Public Safety’s Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau — or “GTSB” warns that some drivers may be driving impaired, and that puts anyone who is sharing the roadway with them at a higher risk of being involved in a crash. In an effort to remove these dangerous drivers, they say there will be a noticeable increase in traffic enforcement across Iowa from now through September 5th, 2016.
This special Traffic Enforcement Period or “sTEP” occurs during the national “Drive Sober, Or Get Pulled Over” campaign.
The GTSB says almost one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States and Iowa involve drunk drivers. They say that means an average of 10,000 people in the United States have died needlessly every year since 2010. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 28 people, nationwide, die every day in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 53 minutes. During the 2014 (the last year statistics are available) Labor Day holiday weekend, 40 percent of the fatalities in traffic crashes involved drunk drivers, which was the highest percentage in over five years.
In contrast, the simple act of wearing a seat belt is the single most effective thing a driver or passenger can do to protect themselves in a crash. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report shows that seat belts save over 13,000 lives per year. That is more than the population of most Iowa towns, and it only takes approximately four seconds to buckle up.