I-80 Challenge Underway Across The Country
The interstate that cuts across the U.S. will be saturated with cops for the next weekPhoto: Video by kmtv.com
CREATED Jul. 25, 2013
Omaha, NE -- It's called the 'I-80 Challenge' and it's a national campaign to get drivers to slow down.
The initiative stretches 2,900 miles, all the way from New Jersey to California.
Statistics show the last week of July is the deadliest week on I-80.
Authorities hope this week-long effort results in zero deaths on the interstate.
"There are no intersections on the interstate," said Capt. Bret Friesz of the National State Patrol. "There are no stop signs on the interstate. It's basically straight through and speed."
Through the end of the month, patrols will be out in full force.
"The focus of it is to show a heavy law enforcement presence along the interstate system in the hopes to reduce traffic accidents, and more importantly traffic fatalities along the corridor," said Lt. Michael Miller of the Iowa State Patrol.
Agencies participating in the 80 challenge will be looking for people speeding and distracted and aggressive drivers.
On Thursday, troopers were patrolling by air and on the ground trying to catch speeders between Maple and Fort Streets.
They nailed three drivers in 30 minutes.
Troopers in both Iowa and Nebraska said this kind of enforcement is what people should expect through the end of the month.
"The reason this week is probably statistically higher is its past mid-summer," said Friesz. "You're looking toward vacation time. People wanting to get their vacations in before school starts and colleges kick back up. So there's just more traffic during this period of July."
Nationally, there were 350 deadly crashes from 2009-2011 on I-80.
In Iowa, there were more than 17,000 crashes over a 10-year period.
Troopers hope will these statistics will start changing this week.
"Life is precious, and it's a dangerous week for motorists because of the statistics," said Friesz. "It doesn't have to be. The public's perspective should be let's help each other accomplish this goal."
There are 455 miles of I-80 in Nebraska.
Troopers said for the next week, they will be out 24 hours a day the interstate.