Law officers statewide are taking part in a focused effort through Labor Day to find and arrest drunk drivers. Randy Hunefeld, spokesman for the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau, says the theme of the enforcement action is “Drunk Driving, Over the Limit, Under Arrest.”

Hunefeld says, “We’re trying to make sure people understand if they’ve had too much to drink, there’s plenty of alternatives and not to take the risk of getting behind the wheel.” Last year, 372 people died in crashes on Iowa’s roads. Nearly a quarter of the deadly wrecks, 92 of them, were alcohol-related. Studies say the highest percentage of alcohol-impaired drivers are between the ages of 21 and 24.

Hunefeld says the crackdown on drunk drivers will be a far-reaching effort in Iowa over the holiday weekend. “There’s about 250 city, county and state law enforcement agencies around the state that will be participating in this special enforcement event,” he says. These events are known as Special Traffic Enforcement Programs or STEPs. Hunefeld says there are usually five each year around the major holidays.

“Ultimately, we would like to have no traffic violations found during that time but unfortunately, people are always in a hurry or they’ve been out drinking too much and that’s why we’re out there,” he says. “We want everybody to know we’re out there so they will behave themselves and follow those rules.”

By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City