DES MOINES — The Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau is receiving $11 million in federal money for grants to various safety programs in Iowa.
Bureau Chief Brett Tjepkes says one program helps refugees with driver education. “Through Lutheran Services of Iowa, you know they help bring refugees up to speed with some of the Iowa’s laws with the culture in Iowa and get them to build their confidence and give them education,” Tjepkes says. He says it’s an important for people who are new to Iowa. “They need those driver’s licenses to be able to get to work, to be able to get to school. And so to help educate them to, to pass a driver’s class and test is something that they’ll be doing with the help of our grant funds, and so we’re eager to get going and work with them,” he says.
The Iowa Bicycle Coalition is also getting grant money. “We want to support them in training young people to walk and bike to school, and develop good safe habits when they’re bicycling and walking,” Tjepkes says.
The Iowa Restaurant Association and Mothers Against Drunk Driving are receiving grants. “Mothers Against Drunk Driving, educating young people on safety, driver safety, but also just safe users of the road system in general. And with the Iowa Restaurant Association, that’s some responsible beverage server training,” Tjepkes says. “So training the alcohol servers when to serve, when to ID and to make sure they’re not serving people that have either had too much alcohol or that shouldn’t happen in the first place.”
Tjepkes says traffic deaths in the state are already more than 300 this year and theyhope these grants will help bring that number down.
“That’s just far too many and we are doing everything we can to save lives with these programs,” he says.