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Authorities to sTEP up enforcement over holiday

Published: Monday, Nov. 19, 2012 12:37 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Nov. 19, 2012 12:38 p.m. CDT

Iowa police officers, deputy sheriffs, state troopers and DOT officers will participate in the Thanksgiving Holiday effort urging everyone to buckle up. This one-week enhanced enforcement period, beginning today and continuing through Sunday, represents another wave of Iowa’s special Traffic Enforcement Program (sTEP).

The program joins public information efforts with those of the local enforcement communities geared at convincing all motorists of the importance of buckling up. In addition to safety belt violations, officers also will pay close attention to impaired drivers and other moving violations.

Patrick Hoye, bureau chief of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau, continues to stress the importance of buckling up during the daytime hours and especially at night.

“Seat belts save lives and that is the bottom line,” he said.

As of Nov. 1 with more than 37 percent of this year’s 299 fatalities having been determined not to have been wearing seat belts, the answer is clear that buckling up increases your odds in surviving a major crash.

Although 92 percent of Iowa motorists are using safety belts during the daytime hours, there are plenty of those who aren’t especially in the rural communities. During the last August-September sTEP wave, Iowa officers confronted 2,358 seat belt violations, 847 impaired drivers, 13,443 speeding violations, and a total of more than 34,335 contacts with traffic violators. Vehicle assistance was given to 1,980 motorists and 419 arrest warrants were served. The next sTEP wave is scheduled for March 14-17, 2013.