Statewide, Iowa — It’s almost time for a holiday. That means several law enforcement agencies including some police departments, Sheriff’s Offices, and the Iowa State Patrol are out in force to try to enforce drunk driving and seat belt laws.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2013, the most recent year in which data is available, there were 424 crash fatalities nationwide over the three-day Labor Day weekend. Almost half of those fatal crashes involved drivers who had been drinking, and 27 percent of those drivers had a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .15 or higher – nearly twice the legal limit of .08. In the same time period, four people were killed in crashes in Iowa, twenty-five percent of those were alcohol related.
Law enforcement agencies across Iowa and the nation are stepping up enforcement to save lives now through Labor Day (Monday, September 7th). The motoring public will notice more officers and increased safety messaging.
The new SaferRide mobile app (which is free from the Apple iTunes store and Google Play) can help users call a taxi or a friend for a ride home. The app can even help you identify your location so you can be picked up. If you know you will be drinking, law enforcement officers say you should plan how you will get home afterward.
The Iowa Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau (GTBS) Chief Patrick Hoye asks drivers to help them keep Iowa’s highways safe this holiday by not drinking and driving. The Iowa DPS and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau reminds you that, “Driving sober is not just a recommendation, it’s the law!”
In addition to the special Traffic Enforcement wave, local, county and state law enforcement officers will have a special emphasis on patrolling U.S. Highway 71 from Page to Dickinson counties as part of the Highway 71 Impaired Driving Enforcement Project to reduce drunk and drugged driving. The mobilization, which will include high-visibility enforcement all along Highway 71, will run over Labor Day Weekend, September 4-7, 2015. In our area, Highway 71 runs from Storm Lake through Spencer, through the Iowa Great Lakes area, and up to Jackson, Minnesota.