Iowa law enforcement officers are planning to boost patrol efforts over the next two weeks as summer travel season begins. Randy Hunefeld is coordinator of the Safe Traffic Enforcement Program (sTEP) with the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau. “We’re just reminding people to buckle up, drive the speed limit and drive sober,” Hunefeld said.
Last year on Iowa roads, traffic crashes claimed 372 lives. Nearly half of those fatal crashes occurred during daytime hours, but there are more motorists on the road at that time. Hunefeld says 88% of the motoring public travels during the day, while 12% travels at night. “So, in comparison, the fatalities are far worse at night,” Hunefeld said.
The most recent survey found around 93% of Iowa motorists wear a seat belt, but at night, seat belt usage drops to 39%. The sTEP campaign will run today through June 4th. “I’m anticipating about 250 law enforcement agencies, including the Iowa State Patrol, will be out in force looking for violators and cracking down on those who aren’t buckling up,” Hunefeld said. During the 2009 Memorial Day weekend, there were 12 fatalities on the state’s roadways.
By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City