Des Moines, Iowa — With Thanksgiving next week, northwest Iowa law enforcement officers will be out in force — many of them participating in the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau “sTEP” program. And officers aren’t waiting until Thanksgiving. The special Traffic Enforcement Program starts already on Monday.

Although 92% of Iowa motorists are using safety belts during the daytime hours, there are plenty who aren’t especially in the rural communities. Most of the state’s 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, spanning November 19–25th, 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 will also 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.” As of November 1st with over 37% 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.

During the last August-September sTEP wave officers confronted over 2300 seat belt violations, nearly 850 impaired drivers, over 13,000 speeding violations, and a total of over 34,000 contacts with traffic violators. Vehicle assistance was given to nearly 2000 motorists and 419 arrest warrants were served. The next sTEP wave is scheduled around St. Patrick’s Day — March 14-17, 2013.

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