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No Iowa traffic deaths reported during “I-80 Challenge”

(Radio Iowa) – Law enforcement officers in 11 states, including Iowa, are compiling data from an effort to reduce crashes along Interstate 80.  The week-long I-80 Challenge involved both an awareness campaign and a heightened enforcement effort along 2,900 miles of Interstate 80 from New Jersey to California.

The nationwide challenge was initiated by the chief of the Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau, Patrick Hoye. A goal was set for zero fatalities over the last week of July, which is typically the deadliest time of the year on I-80.

There were zero traffic fatalities on I-80 through Iowa between July 24-31, but there were two deaths nationwide — one in Ohio and one in Nebraska. Hoye believes having more troopers on the roadway is still the most effective way to prevent speeding.

“Those that think, well, I’ll drive 7 or 8 (mph) over (the posted speed limit) — which some days may be OK because you just have one officer out there — but when you have multiple officers doing a saturation or that type of project where they can address those issues…that’s when even those that think they’re safe, would be stopped,” Hoye says.

The law agencies in the 11 states along I-80 are now compiling a comprehensive report concerning the number and type of collisions that occurred over the week, plus information on the enforcement actions and criminal activity. The I-80 Challenge uses the motto “More Cops, More Stops” and involved the use of dynamic message boards.