High fuel prices are hurting agencies that revolve around lots of driving, including the Iowa State Patrol. Sergeant Robert Hansen says the first of three strategies to save gas will be what’s called an “in-view patrol.”Offices will choose a location known for a high accident or violation rate, and sit there watching, with the car not running. Hansen says a second practice will have highway patrol officers, who usually drive alone, doubling up in a car for part of the shift.At low traffic times and in rural areas, troopers will be two-to-a-car during part of night shifts. They can use another set of eyes, and more backup for safety when they do late-night stops. And instead of troopers driving around looking for violators, they’ll stop all drivers at waypoints more often.Hansen says troopers are even asked to find the cheapest stations they can to fill the squad car’s tank, when they need gas on patrol. But there’s no telling what gas prices will do.Restricting mileage may become necessary. Commanders say they don’t want to take that move. The fuel-saving programs being put into effect were chosen because patrol officials think they will still be able to maintain full services.
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