Local law enforcement agencies around the state will be out in full force beginning today looking for traffic violators as part of the “Special Traffic Enforcement Program” also known as “sTEP”. Randy Hunefeld with the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau says the projects have been going on for over a decade.

He says the program was developed in Iowa in 1996 to encourage seatbelt usage, and the first survey of seatbelt usage in 1997 showed usage was 75%. Hunefeld says the use of the special programs have gradually helped to increase seatbelt usage.

Hunefeld says we are currently at 93% seatbelt usage, which puts us in the top 10% in the country. Hunefeld said that we still have a ways to go as a state to get safer.

Hunefeld says we still have about 150 He says they are targeting that last 7% to get them to buckle up and let them know that “seatbelts help save lives.” Seatbelt usage isn’t the only violation law enforcement will be watching for though.

Hunefeld says the statewide project will help change driver behavior and encourage motorists to obey all traffic laws, with an emphasis on slowing down and driving sober. For more information visit: www.IowaGTSB.org.

By Chris Berg, KCHA Charles City