Safe travels over Thanksgiving Weekend - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Safe travels over Thanksgiving Weekend

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FLOYD COUNTY (KWWL) -- Last year, 411 people lost their lives in a car crash over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Ten of those were in Iowa. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates 34% of these deaths were alcohol related.

This year, nearly 40 million Americans are planning to hit the highway over Thanksgiving weekend, and Sheriff Rick Lynch is preparing for thousands of them to travel through Floyd County.

"It's amazing how many out of state plates or out of county plates. So really its not going to be the citizens of Floyd County that are going to cause us extra work, it's actually people that are passing through our county," said Lynch.

But the weekend won't cost the county extra money. A state grant from the Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau helps cover the added expense.

"If you got a city or county department that don't really have a lot of money for overtime, you're not going to stick those extra people out there. So the state comes in through the governor's office and helps out with the overtime," Lynch noted.

Lynch is even putting his department's vehicles to work.

"Any squad car that's not being used, we take it out in high traffic areas and just park it," said Lynch. "Just having that presence, that marked car, somebody sees it. Maybe they look down at their speed or don't have their seatbelt on, throw their seatbelt on."

Speed and careless driving are the Sheriff's top concerns. Of course, his deputies are looking out for intoxicated drivers. But Lynch believes, in the majority of cases, people no longer think it's okay to drive after having a couple drinks.

"You're still going to have them out there, you're always going to have them. You're never going to stop it. But I really can tell you, over the years the OWI arrests have decreased. And it's not because officers aren't doing their jobs. People are being more responsible," he added.

Online Reporter Colleen O'Shaughnessy

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