The Iowa State Patrol is using Super Bowl weekend to kick off a new enforcement initiative. Iowa Department of Public Safety spokesperson Jessica Lown says the project involves troopers who will work around the clock trying to catch drivers who are breaking traffic safety laws.

“We have identified 45 troopers who are going to start focusing their energy entirely on enforcing Iowa’s laws related to seatbelt use and impaired driving, whether that’s alcohol use or drug use,” Lown said. The 45 troopers are scattered around the state, but will be working primarily in 22 counties where data shows there are high numbers of traffic fatalities and personal injury crashes. The Patrol conducted several enforcement projects in those 22 counties last year and Lown says they were successful in reducing crashes and fatalities.

“In central Iowa, for example, the fatality numbers dropped by 23-percent,” Lown said. “In the next 14 largest counties outside of central Iowa, there was a decline in motor vehicle fatalities by six-percent.”

The goal of the new program, Lown says, is to commit troopers to conducting such enforcement efforts year-round to gain even greater results. Preliminary figures show 372 motorists died on Iowa roadways in 2009. That’s the lowest number recorded in the state since 1945.

 Seventy-two of the people killed last year were involved in alcohol-related crashes.