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Buckling down on those not buckled up

By Staff | Jul 2, 2009

The Estherville Police Department and the Emmet County Sheriff’s Department are participating in another sTEP enforcement wave to begin today and continue through Sunday, July 5.

To prevent death and injury, Iowa law enforcement is again asking the motoring public to buckle up, slow down and drive sober.

With 11 traffic fatalities over the Memorial Day weekend, everyone should be aware the next tragic accident is just a lane change, cell phone call, drunken driver or holiday away. In 2008, Iowa roadways claimed 412 deaths, including five over the Fourth of July weekend.

This year nearly 250 city, county and state law enforcement agencies across Iowa will participate in a special Traffic Enforcement Program in an effort to keep everyone safe as they travel. The sTEP projects are funded by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau through a program with the National Highway Traffic Administration. This money enables more officers to work more hours on roadways all across the state during times of the year when travel increases and traffic accidents, injury and death are more probable.

“Too many people still take the attitude that it will never happen to me,” sTEP coordinator Randy Hunefeld said. “But fatal crashes can and do happen every day. We’ve made a lot of progress, but there are still too many people in Iowa dying because they are unbuckled, speeding and driving intoxicated.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Bureau, drunk driving is one of America’s deadliest problems. In 2007, 41,059 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes. Of those individuals, 12,998 were killed in traffic crashes that involved at least one driver or motorcycle rider with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.

Iowa law enforcement officers need our help and are asking every Iowan that gets behind the wheel to buckle up and drive responsibly. Let’s make this Fourth of July holiday a safe one.