Iowa’s law-enforcement professionals are conducting a special traffic-enforcement program or STEP. Randy Hunefeld of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau says you’ll notice more patrol cars on the road between now and the end of Labor Day.Five times a year, coordinated around the holidays, the Bureau asks law-enforcement agencies to step up their efforts to see that drivers are buckling up and driving sober. This period is one of their longest of all the special enforcement periods throughout the year. It’s two weeks, and Hunefeld adds that Labor Day’s normally the third-deadliest day of the year so it’s important that people slow down and don’t drive after drinking. It’s drinking that happens to be the special focus of this enforcement period. The slogan for this STEP “wave” is “You drink, you drive, you lose.” He says it’s aimed squarely at the person who might choose to drive after drinking, in the hopes it’ll convince them to choose a designated driver or find some other way to get home safely. They’ll also be watching for drivers who buckle up themselves and their passengers. While it used to be a secondary offense, Hunefeld says officers can now stop you just for not wearing your seatbelt. It’s a 63-dollar fine, he notes, adding, “If you’ve been drinking and aren’t belted up it turns into a 6700-dollar fine.” Between court costs and higher rates for your insurance, he says eventually it’ll cost a lot more than that. The Special Traffic Enforcement Program continues through Labor Day in Iowa.
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