Law enforcement officers in 16 states are paying extra attention to Interstates 80 and 35 this weekend. Iowa State Patrol Sergeant Nate Ludwig says the “Border-to-Border Traffic Safety Challenge” runs today through Sunday.
“There will be a significant presence of law enforcement because the idea is to have us out there to get people to slow down and make sure people are wearing safety belts,” Ludwig said. Interstate 80 stretches over 2,900 miles between New Jersey and California, while Interstate 35 covers nearly 1,700 miles between Minnesota and Texas. The two interstates intersect in Des Moines.
“August, over the last five years, has been the deadliest month on Interstate 80 and it’s one of the deadliest for I-35 as well,” Ludwig said. “That’s why this initiative was brought about. The challenge is to reduce fatalities on the interstates over the next three days.” So far this year in Iowa, 203 people have died in traffic crashes. That compares to 193 at this same time last year.
“We’ve had a few fatality accidents that have (killed) multiple people in single vehicles,” Ludwig said. “But, as a whole, I think we’re down 15-percent from the high of the last five years.” The I-80/I-35 Border-to-Border Traffic Safety Challenge coincides with the National Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign.