Law Enforcement Out In Force For Labor Day Weekend STEP

Northwest Iowa — Iowa State Troopers, County Deputies and municipal Police Officers will be out in force this weekend, as the annual Labor Day holiday STEP (Special Traffic Enforcement Period) takes place across the state of Iowa.

Iowa State Patrol Trooper Kevin Krull explains.

(As above) “Local law enforcement has teamed up with the State Patrol. We’re going to get out there and do some law enforcement. We’re going to be looking for the major things that lead to our fatalities and help reduce those crashes and make it a little safer for everybody out there.”

Trooper Krull says the purpose of this enforcement project is to help reduce the number of crashes, and with that, the number of fatalities.

(As above) “The reporting period that we’re looking at is September 3rd through the 7th. What that boils down to is, we’ll gather all the statistics and stats from everybody that’s reporting, then we turn that in so they can diagnose those…figure out how those stats compare with years past. Basically, what it boils down to, it just encourages officers just to be out there looking for those violations out there that lead to those crashes, so that we can reduce the number of fatalities.”

He says excessive speed is still a major contributing factor in traffic crashes and fatalities.

(As above) “Speed has been a huge problem. It still remains the number one contributing factor for our crashes on the roadways. The number one thing everybody can do is just put that seatbelt on. Sadly, this year 41% of our fatalities have been unbuckled. We have a compliance rate that’s probably near the highest it’s been, but we need to get that last 7% of people that don’t wear their seatbelts to start buckling up. And that includes ALL positions in the vehicle. Even though the law doesn’t require us to wear (seatbelts) in the back seat as adults, it’s highly encouraged because YOU become that projectile that flies around that car.”

Krull says being unbelted, even in the back seat, can end with tragic consequences in a rollover crash.

(As above) “You only have about a 25% survival rate if you leave that vehicle as part of a rollover (crash). And of those 25% (who survive) life is not the way it used to be for most of them.”

He says alcohol was a factor in half of the fatalities on Iowa’s roads during the Labor Day holiday period last year.

(As above) “Last year, during this same period, we had six fatalities. Three of those…so half of those….were alcohol related.”

Trooper Krull says officers will especially be on the lookout for seatbelt use, excessive speed, distracted driving and impaired driving during the Labor Day STEP.

As for driving while impaired, the Trooper reminds you that the time to arrange a safe way home is before the celebration begins. And at the end of the night, he says if you think you’re probably OK to drive, you aren’t. Find another way to get home. You just might save a life.


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