DES MOINES, Iowa -- Summer is coming to an end, and before we know it, school will be starting and Labor Day will be here. There will be last minute family vacations, shopping trips, and end-of-summer celebrations, which mean more people will be traveling on Iowa roadways.
The Iowa Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau (GTSB) warns that some of those drivers may be driving impaired, and that puts anyone who is sharing the roadway with them at a higher risk of being involved in a crash. In an effort to remove these dangerous drivers, there will be a noticeable increase in traffic enforcement across Iowa from August 23 – September 5, 2016.
Almost one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States and Iowa involve drunk drivers. That means an average of 10,000 people in the United States have died needlessly every year since 2010. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 28 people, nationwide, die every day in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 53 minutes. During the 2014 (the last year statistics are available) Labor Day holiday weekend, 40 percent of the fatalities in traffic crashes involved drunk drivers, which was the highest percentage in over five years.
In contrast, the simple act of wearing a seat belt is the single most effective thing a driver or passenger can do to protect themselves in a crash. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report shows that seat belts save over 13,000 lives per year. That is more than the population of most Iowa towns, and it only takes approximately four seconds to buckle up.
This holiday and every day, buckle up and don’t drive drunk. Working together, we can help keep people safe on our roads!