Thanksgiving STEP underway


November 21st, 2011 by Ric Hanson


Law enforcement agencies throughout the state will be increasing their presence and watching out for traffic violators from now (Nov. 21st) through Sunday (Nov. 27th). The STEP — Special Traffic Enforcement Program — is aimed at changing driver behavior, especially with regard to the use of seatbelts. The presence of law enforcement on the state’s roadways is also designed to encourage motorists to obey all traffic laws. They’ll also be on the lookout for vehicles with defective equipment, persons with warrants, and criminal activity.

Last year on Thanksgiving, eight people lost their lives on Iowa’s highways. 13 people died in traffic accidents during the seven-day STEP project last year. Altogether, 390 people died on the state’s roadways in 2010. The Iowa Department of Public Safety says 50-percent of those who died in crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday travel period would have been saved, if they would have taken three-seconds to put on their seatbelts.

During last year’s combined STEP periods, officers recorded more than 130, 380 traffic violations over the course of 43 days. Each enforcement period involved the efforts of 236 enforcement agencies and over 1,900 officers from cities, counties and the State. Following this week’s Special Traffic Enforcement Program, the next STEP will take place March 15th through the 18th, 2012.