Holiday travelers can expect to see a few more law enforcement vehicles on Iowa roads. Around 230 agencies from across the state are participating in a special Traffic Enforcement Project (sTEP) through Sunday. Randy Hunefeld is the sTEP Coordinator with the Iowa Department of Public Safety. He says the effort is designed to make the holiday safer by reminding motorists to slow down, buckle up and drive sober.
Hunefeld says last year, over the Thanksgiving holiday, there were 16 traffic fatalities in Iowa. Three of those crashes were alcohol related. A similar enforcement project was conducted last year from the Monday before to the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
Hunefeld says law officers statewide reported 310 drunk drivers, more than 1,600 seat belt violations and over 8,600 speed violations during the 2007 Thanksgiving enforcement project. So far this year, around 350 people have died in traffic crashes in Iowa. Hunefeld says while that is far too many, the number is slightly lower than the traffic fatalities reported in 2007.