A nationwide campaign to remove drunk drivers from the road gets underway today and will run through September 8. Randy Hunefeld with the Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau says motorists in Iowa, compared to others around the country, do a good job of designating a sober driver or calling a cab when they’re out drinking alcohol.
Iowa ranks second as having the lowest number of alcohol related fatalities in the nation. “My hat goes off to drivers who are out partying because they are apparently taking responsibility for that,” Hunefeld says. The crackdown on drunk driving, dubbed “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,” is funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
“There are contracts with law enforcement agencies across the state, so there will be somewhere between 250 and 260 law enforcement agencies that’ll be out specifically working this enforcement effort,” Hunefeld says. “And even though there is an emphasis on drunk drivers, they will be looking for all traffic violations.”
In addition to the enforcement boost, the campaign is being supported by paid advertising. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s latest statistics, from 2011, show 9,878 people died across the nation in crashes involving drunk drivers. That equates to roughly one drunken driving fatality every 53 minutes.
Over the Labor Day Holiday weekend in Iowa last year, there were no reported alcohol related fatalities, however there were four fatalities from traffic crashes.