With six central Iowa teens dead in barely a week and a half from highway crashes, authorities are considering what they can do. In rural Polk County, the Central Iowa Traffic Safety Task Force plans several days of focused traffic enforcement around Southeast Polk High School. Sergeant Tom Stahowick says the recent string of deadly crashes are only part of the reason. He says they’re getting a lot of citizen complaints about the driving around the high school in that area, and bus drivers say people are violating the stop-arm signal on their buses, so on top of all the deaths they’ve decided it’s a good time to step up enforcement and make kids safer as they commute to school. Though complaints center on a school area, the sergeant says NOT all the risky drivers are students. Southeast Polk is out on a four-lane highway and he says a lot of adult commuters on the way to their jobs along that road are thinking about work or other things and need to be reminded to slow down, he says. He says they’ll be watching for infractions of all the state’s laws, but giving particular attention to speeding, seatbelt violations, improper passing, and trying to pass school buses when their stop-arms are out and their lights are signaling. Stahowick says the deputies don’t know why young drivers disregard the rules they’ve learned in driver’s ed, or older drivers seem to forget them, but there will be a lot of costly tickets handed out. It’ll cost money to do the special enforcement, but Stahowick says it shows what agencies can do when they work together. In addition to using overtime funds, he says some money will come from state and federal grants. The Polk County Sheriff’s Department will be joined by state troopers, Altoona and Pleasant Hill police and the DOT in the effort around Southeast Polk High School.
You are here: / / Effort seeks to cut teen crashes