Another Special Traffic Enforcement Project (STEP) begins Wednesday focused on impaired drivers.
Iowa State Patrol Trooper Ryan DeVault says the upcoming four-day STEP time frame was identified by the Fatality Reduction Task Force, which has one goal.
He says the goal is to get the traffic death rate below 300 — which he says hasn’t been done since 1959. The Task Force reviewed data from over the past 10-years to look for trends they could focus on and this time it will be primarily on impaired drivers.
“That’s one of those statistical areas they looked at as far as impaired driving goes, and seeing higher rates during that four-day time frame there,” he says. Since the beginning of 2021, there have 118 been traffic-related deaths in Iowa, which is up 24 deaths from last year at this same time. He says there is one thing everyone can do to cut the death total — buckle up.
“Out of those 118 fatalities, 43 percent of those fatalities are non-seatbelt wearers. So there’s a potential that 43 percent of those 118, a life could have been saved by a seatbelt,” according to DeVault. “We always know that that isn’t always the case — but potentially 43 percent of those numbers could have been saves.” DeVault says you can also help by getting choosing a designated driver or getting a ride if you are drinking.
“There’s multiple different apps for Ubers and these rideshare programs — there’s all kinds of ways — even in your smaller towns, if you are going to consume too much alcohol, to make sure you have a designated driver or use one of these rideshare apps,” DeVault says. A person who gets an O-W-I will see stiff fines, jail time, and other possible penalties.
He says you could also lose your job and it can make your insurance cost go up. And if your actions result in a death or deaths, you face much more severe penalties, in addition to being saddled with a crash survivors’ guilt.
(By Ric Hanson, KJAN, Atlantic)