Bureau Chief Patrick Hoye says the coalition will review existing Iowa data, laws, regulations and programs and propose a coordinated statewide impaired driving plan. behavior.
“We’re going to submit it to the National Traffic Safety Administration to take a look at the statewide impaired driving plan. We are hoping it will provide us a comprehensive strategy for preventing and reducing impaired driving deaths,” Hoye says. “And we’re hoping that by reaching out to a lot of subject-matter experts in the alcohol field that we can put a plan together that will see a reduction in fatalities on Iowa highways.”
Hoye says deaths attributed to alcohol have been a continuing problem here. “Iowa’s numbers have stagnated at about 30 percent of Iowa fatalities are alcohol-related. While overall fatalities have been coming down, this number really hasn’t moved,” according to Hoye. “We see it as a certain liability for our state that we haven’t been able to reduce those impaired driving fatalities.”
The recent high-profile deaths of two Des Moines police officers in an accident where the other driver had a blood alcohol level of three times the legal limit, shined more attention onto the issue. Hoye says they’ve established a new award in honor of those officers, Susan Farrell and Carlos Puente-Morales. He says they will be looking at law enforcement agencies that do “an exceptional job” in enforcement or any community outreach that impacts impaired driving.
The agency will receive the award named after Farrell and Puente-Morales each year at the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau annual conference. “We’re looking for an agency that steps up and we thought it was a fitting tribute to those officers — and out of this tragedy something positive could happen,” Hoye says. He expects the coalition to take four to six weeks to gather the input on Iowa’s impaired driving so they can put together its recommendations.
“And then as the plan comes forward, we’re hoping to reach our –whether the area be legislation, public awareness, our law enforcement partners to liquor establishments — and then hopefully implement strategies as soon as this summer,” Hoye says. The Impaired Driving Task Force includes members of the Iowa Department of Public Safety’s GTSB, the DPS’s Division of Criminal Investigation Criminalistics Laboratory, Department of Corrections, Department of Transportation, Department of Public Health, Department of Human Rights, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Attorney General’s Office, city, county and state law enforcement officers and private partners.