DES MOINES — Extra state, county and local law enforcement will be on the roads during the upcoming holiday weekend as part of a special effort to crack down on problem motorists before they become a problem to others.
Iowa State Trooper Paul Gardner says they’re intentionally putting out the word before the Labor Day weekend arrives, to get people thinking about safety. “We want people to know we’re out there,” Gardner says. “If they’re doing something that they shouldn’t be doing, they’re likely going to get stopped and ticketed for it, such as speeding, drunk driving, not wearing their seatbelts, if they’re texting and driving — those are some of the things we’re going to be looking out for this Labor Day weekend.”
Gardner says 40 people were killed on Iowa’s roads over the Labor Day holiday last year. “So with those 40 traffic fatalities, 30% of those were impairment-related,” Gardner says. “That means people who are under the influence of alcohol and drugs were contributing factors in 30% of those fatalities.”
Saturday is expected to be a very busy day on the state’s roads, especially around Iowa City and Ames as Iowa and Iowa State are opening their football seasons at home, while UNI is opening its season away — facing the Cyclones in Ames. “I anticipate we’re going to be busy working the roadways with the increased amount of travelers coming through, since this is the last official holiday of the summer,” Gardner says. “We’ve definitely had a busy summer already, with traffic crashes and traffic fatalities on the increase.”
The Iowa DOT reports there have been 247 deaths on Iowa’s roads so far this year, well ahead of the 213 deaths as of this date a year ago.