Thousands of Iowans are traveling today to visit friends and family over the Fourth of July and Randy Hunefeld with the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau says law officers are hoping the roads are much safer than they were over the last major holiday weekend.
Twelve people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in Iowa during the Memorial Day weekend. "That’s just way too many," Hunefeld said. "We’re concerned that some people are probably driving too fast to get where they want to go or maybe they’re drinking and driving and not selecting a designated driver."
Between today (Thursday) and Sunday, nearly 250 law enforcement agencies across the state are said to be adding officers to patrol the roads. Hunefeld is hoping that increased presence will encourage motorists to pay closer attention to the task at hand. He says distracted drivers are causing too many accidents.
"Having been involved in law enforcement for 20 years, I think I’ve seen it all, but it seems like I still tend to see things I haven’t seen before," Hunefeld said. "Cell phones are one thing that really distracts people, but I’ve seen people eating breakfast, combing their hair, putting on makeup and reading a book."
The special enforcement project this weekend is funded through a program with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Hunefeld says the money enables more officers to work more hours on roadways all across the state and catch motorists who are speeding, driving drunk or not wearing a seatbelt. Last year, over the Independence Day weekend, four motorists were killed in traffic crashes in Iowa.