Preliminary numbers show 30 people were killed in traffic crashes in Iowa during the month of June. If that figure stands, it would be the lowest June fatality count in 27 years. Iowa State Patrol Colonel Patrick Hoye is giving some of the credit to an enforcement effort that involved every trooper, regardless of rank, working at least one Saturday night last month.
Hoye says the boost in staffing resulted in fewer crashes and an increase in traffic citations. On Saturdays in June, Hoye says seatbelt citations increased 51% and speeding citations increased 81% compared to 2008. "Probably, most dramatically, OWI arrests increased 120% over 2008," Hoye said.
The Safe Saturday Project involved troopers working late nights and early in the morning, when most fatal crashes involving drunk drivers are reported. "We worked at night because 60% of those Iowa impaired driving deaths occur between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m.," Hoye said. On the four Saturday nights last month, Iowa State Patrol Troopers arrested 99 motorists for drunk driving.