Statewide Iowa — A number of northwest Iowa law enforcement agencies are in the midst of a special focus on traffic safety. Different agencies participate every year. According to the Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau, this time in our area it’s the Lyon and Osceola County Sheriff’s Offices, the Paullina Police Department and the Iowa State Patrol.
Independence Day is a time of celebration with family and friends, food, and fireworks, but the Fourth of July holiday weekend is one of the deadliest on the nation’s roadways when it comes to crashes involving alcohol.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports in 2013, the most recent year in which data is available, 512 people were killed, nationwide in motor vehicle crashes over the Fourth of July holiday (5 p.m. July 3–6 a.m. July 8). One hundred and ninety-nine of those deaths, or 39 percent, occurred in crashes that involved at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. More than 20 percent of the impaired drivers involved in those fatal crashes had a BAC of .15 or higher and the incidence of impaired driving was over three times higher at night than during the day. Twenty-seven percent of motorcycle operators involved in fatal crashes had BACs of .08 or higher. During that same time period, six people were killed on Iowa roadways. Half of those fatal crashes were alcohol related.
Extra law enforcement officers will be present on Iowa roadways July 1–7, 2015, watching for impaired drivers. If you have been drinking, don’t risk it; make a plan before the celebration begins. There is always another way home; arrange for a ride or call a taxi and remember:Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.
For more on the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over mobilization, you can visit www.nhtsa.gov.