During the week of Nov. 20-26, all drivers on Iowa roadways are encouraged to make a concerted effort to obey traffic laws in order to make this first of the major fall and winter holiday events the safest possible.
Law enforcement agencies in the state have been asked to participate in a coordinated Special Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) to make this a safe holiday weekend. They will be "stepping" up enforcement. Seeing them on the road should reinforce your feelings that - no matter the distance - they are making the roads safer for you and your loved ones. Law enforcement is truly not interested in delaying motorists, but they definitely do not want to make that unexpected/unwanted visit to any family apprising them a loved one has been injured or died in a crash.
During the last STEP event, which ran Aug. 28 - Sept. 4, 94 law enforcement agencies reported 2,280 safety belt and child restraint violations, 215 OWI arrests and over 4,000 other violations of traffic laws. Also reported were 206 criminal arrests and assistance was provided to 443 stranded motorists. Unfortunately, Labor Day statistics more than doubled from three fatalities in 1999 to seven fatalities in 2000. There were two fatalities over the Thanksgiving holiday period in 1999, down from the 1998 total of three.
Please remember before you start your next trip to consider the following:
*Make sure your vehicle is in good driving condition; plan enough time to reach your destination allowing extra time for adverse weather and road conditions.
*Always wear your seat belts regardless of your position in the vehicle.
*Make sure all children 6 and under are secured properly in a seatbelt or approved child restraint or booster seat.
*When you see a law enforcement officer stopped along the side of the roadway, please reduce your speed and pass carefully.
*Eliminate distractions and obey all traffic laws.
With your assistance, we can look forward to reducing the number of crashes across our state.