This year July 4th falls on Thursday, making this a long holiday weekend.
To protect Iowa families from the effects of drunk drivers during this holiday period, the Iowa Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau will support Iowa law enforcement in protecting citizens from impaired drivers. As a part of the "You Drink and Drive, You Lose" national mobilization, Iowa's law enforcement as well as law enforcement across the nation will conduct stepped up enforcement. The Storm Lake Police Department will again be participating in the STEP program.
Currently Iowa has the 2nd lowest percentage of alcohol-related fatalities in the nation. During the 4th of July holiday in 2000, seven individuals lost their lives in collisions on Iowa's roadways; three were killed in alcohol related crashes. In 2001, two lives were lost during collisions - one of these collisions involved alcohol. This year the goal is to avoid any loss of life from alcohol-related or other automobile crashes during this holiday.
If you are going to host a social gathering where alcohol is to be served, please think of the safety of your guests by including alcohol free beverages and reminding your guests of the dangers of drinking and driving. Everyone needs to remember: Don't risk it-if you plan to drive, don't drink. If you do choose to drink, please choose a sober designated driver or choose to ride by mass transit or taxicab.
Captain Bob Swanson, Alcohol Coordinator for the Storm Lake Police Department states, "The consequences of driving while impaired can be costly. An alcohol-related collision that involves the loss of life or results in personal injury is a price we can't afford to pay and drivers responsible for collisions like these will face felony charges. The penalties for OWI can include fines and costs that total as much as $7,500 time in jail and the loss of your driver's license for as long as six years. Drivers under age of 21 can be charged with OWI if their blood alcohol content is .02 or higher and drivers of commercial motor vehicles can be charged with OWI if their blood alcohol content is .04 or greater. Law enforcement officers, including conservation officers from the Department of Natural Resources, will be watching for boaters who operate watercrafts while impaired. And as always, remember that, 'Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk.'"
Please remember to buckle-up and use properly installed Child Safety Seats. Buckling up is your best defense for any collision. Always report impaired driverst.
For more information on this program please call Captain Todd Erskine at 712-732-8010.