The state highway patrols from Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota plan to team up for traffic enforcement projects during the busy summer travel months, starting in June. Lieutenant Rick Henderson, of the Iowa State Patrol office in Cherokee, says even with high gasoline prices, traffic is about to pick up on the region’s highways.
Lieutenant Henderson says: "Every year we have several tri-state projects in the area where we either target saturation projects during the day or in the evenings for all types of different violations. Obviously, we’re trying to get better seat belt compliance to save lives and to reduce accidents." He says such tri-state projects in the area have been the norm since the mid-1980s.
In addition to seat belts, the troopers will also be targeting trouble spots for speeding, aggressive driving and violation of the "Move Over Law," among others. As the weather heats up, he says, so will traffic troubles. Henderson says: "We usually target holiday times. It just depends on what’s going on. There’s traffic various times of the year, through Memorial Day, the 4th of July and the different holidays. We try to find when an agency might have a problem in their area and then we’ll just work together on our side of the river and have a joint project."
He says the first of the tri-state law enforcement efforts is just a few weeks away. While the dates aren’t yet finalized, there will be a couple of dates in June in the greater Sioux City metro area, covering a wide chunk of northwest Iowa, northeast Nebraska and southeast South Dakota.
While seat belt compliance in Iowa is among the nation’s best at 92%, the rates are much lower in Nebraska at 79%, and even worse in South Dakota at 73%. Henderson says it’s estimated more than 5,800 lives have been saved in Iowa since the state’s seatbelt law was enacted in 1986.