Special Traffic Enforcement effort begins Thursday


August 21st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Law enforcement officers from throughout the state will join their comrades across the nation beginning this Thursday, in an effort to crack down on impaired drivers, leading into the Labor Day weekend. The Special Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) runs August 25th through September 7th, and will be an intensive crackdown on impaired driving and other offenses.

Across the country, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 (point-oh-eight) or greater. According to the latest data, nearly one-third of the fatalities in motor vehicle crashes involved a driver or motorcycle rider with a BAC above the legal limit, or an average of one fatality every 48-minutes.

Officials say while the number of alcohol-related fatalities dropped from 2008 to 2009, the number of fatalities related to impaired driving, are still too high. In Iowa, 92 out of the 371 fatalities recorded in 2009, were the result of an alcohol-related crash. Nationwide, the age group with the highest percentage of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities, were those who were 21-to-24.

During last year’s Labor Day STEP period, there were seven fatalities in Iowa, two of which were alcohol-related. And, nearly 35,500 traffic violations were recorded by law enforcement officers throughout the state, during the reporting period.

For more information on the STEP program, or how to stop an impaired driver before they get behind the wheel, log on to www.stopimpaireddriving.org.