"Trap" sounds a little sneaky. They called it a "saturation project" and it was a new, creative way the Iowa State Patrol came up with on Monday to crack down on texting and driving.
According to KCCI, the project saw the state patrol pairing up with a trucking company. A trooper rode with a trucker and when they "caught" a distracted driver, would radio the half dozen or so troopers standing by on the i-35/80 onramps, who would then pull the driver over and write them a ticket.
This sounds like a reality show concept, an unconventional speed trap, or in this case distracted driving trap, that trooper Alex Dinkla expects them to use more often based on yesterday's success with it. "It’s going to bring awareness as those motorists drive down the road and they see us with the lights on or see these traffic stops happening. It’s going to make somebody think twice about what they are doing", said Dinkla.
This dangerous form of multi-tasking took 338 Iowa lives in 2020
With 1,100 overall crashes due to distracted driving in 2019, the State Patrol says that number is likely to increase this year. In terms of fatalities, there were 338 of them in 2020. The immediate goal is to at least get that below 300, which hasn't happened since 1925 (distracted driving was a thing before cell phones, too) and eventually to zero, of course. It's not looking good. They have recorded 254 fatalities due to distracted driving already this year, 10 more than this time last year.
Even if you're only on the phone in the driver's seat for 5 seconds, at 55 mph it is said that is equivalent to driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.
Young drivers are most at-risk
Drivers under 20 have the "highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes." A survey average over the last three years shows that only 30.2 percent of Iowa drivers state they never use cell phones while driving. We sure hope they are being honest.