CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) – Cedar Rapids Police are putting two more officers on the road now through Sunday, thanks to grant funding from the state. They, and law enforcement partners around the state, are focusing on impaired driving as the summer travel season is beginning.
Their enforcement efforts — and communication on social media — are part of a program of the Iowa Zero Fatality Task Force and all meant to bring down the numbers of deaths on Iowa’s roads to less than 300. That hasn’t been done since 1925.
The Iowa State Patrol says they have seen the highest numbers of speed and the most impaired driving in their careers.
“It seems to be the high level of intoxication that we deal with some of these crashes. People enjoy themselves too much but we also get recreational drugs that get mixed into that. They’re driving drunk and high or just high and that really has a big impact,” Cedar Rapids Police Sgt. Graham Campsure said.
COVID had an influence on the record number of people driving more than 100 mph.
Retired Iowa State Patrol Col. Patrick Hoye is the bureau chief for the Iowa Zero Fatalities Task Force.
“Part of that was a little bit the lockdown because when we looked at crash data from January to June, it was actually down from a year ago and then when July 1 hit, the numbers skyrocketed last year through the end of the year,” Hoye said.
As for this week, school is out, summer travel is taking off and crash data revealed that June 9th through the 12th was a critical time.
“That time slot over the last ten years, had some of the highest crashes for serious injuries and fatalities in the state,” Hoye said.
Law enforcement says Memorial Day is typically the beginning of the 100 deadliest days of the year on the roads and enforcement is also heightened on the 4th of July and Labor Day.
“When we get to those special holidays with lots of gatherings, we want to make sure we are keeping the roads safe,” Campsure said.
They’re asking the public to buckle up, slow down, drive sober and don’t drive distracted.
Since the task force announced this program 2 days ago, there have been two more deaths on Iowa’s roads. Hoye said they don’t know the causes of those crashes yet but he did say that this year, there have been 56 impaired driving crashes in Cedar Rapids.
The Linn County Sheriff’s Office reported that there have been 108 impaired driving crashes so far this year.