Law enforcement ready to STEP up

POSTED: March 7, 2009

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Emmet County Sheriff Mike Martens is alerting the public his department along with Estherville and Armstrong police departments will be participating in the March 2009 Special Traffic Enforcement Program scheduled to take place next week.
Law enforcement officials continue to remind the motoring public they are patrolling the streets and highways, both day and night, to crack down on speeders, drunk drivers and those who refuse to buckle up.
More than 230 law enforcement agencies will be out in force during the March 12-17 Special Traffic Enforcement Program, making sure everyone is obeying Iowa's traffic laws.
The March STEP wave will encompass St. Patrick's Day weekend and extra emphasis will be placed on removing those drivers who choose to get behind the wheel after drinking too much.
Traffic fatalities are the leading cause of death among persons 5-34 years of age, and alcohol is the leading cause of fatality traffic accidents by an overwhelming margin. Nationally 12,996 people were killed in alcohol/impaired driving related traffic crashes in 2007. Thirty-two percent of all traffic deaths in the United States involved at least one drinking or otherwise impaired driver.
Iowa law authorities recorded 413 traffic fatalities in 2008, down from 446 in 2007.
Additionally, during last year's March STEP wave, nearly 1,500 officers from 231 law enforcement agencies participated. During the enforcement wave, they identified a total of 17,457 traffic violations. That included 457 drunk drivers, 1,994 seat belt and 6,404 speed contacts. There were also 382 traffic crashes investigated and one traffic fatality reported.