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Nationwide crackdown on I-80 to reduce auto accidents

New Jersey Police are joining with police forces from 10 other states spanning the U.S. to increase patrols on Interstate 80 for the last week in July 2013 to try to reduce auto accidents. Authorities are calling the safety campaign "the I-80 Challenge," and are using the slogan "more cops, more stops," to describe their efforts. The goal of the campaign is to have zero auto accident fatalities through the end of July.

I-80 is a main thoroughfare from the east to west coast of the country, running for about 2,900 miles, and many people travel on it for summer road trips. The Iowa State Patrol organized the I-80 Challenge after research demonstrated that traffic fatalities increased on I-80 during the summer.

In some parts of the country, the road goes down to only two lanes and backs up. In more rural areas, drivers tend to speed. Other hazards on the road include drowsy drivers and intoxicated drivers. Police will be monitoring for those who are driving too fast for the conditions, intoxicated, distracted, not wearing seat belts or engaging in other unsafe behaviors.

Police say that the goal of the I-80 Challenge is not to issue a lot of traffic tickets, but rather to increase visibility of police on the road to remind drivers to be safe.

Eliminating traffic accident fatalities for the rest of the month is a laudable goal. After the campaign, however, ongoing safety depends on the choices that individual drivers make. If people make safety a priority when they are driving, cultural opinions and practices about driving will begin to change and make roads safer.

Source: Mercury News, "Cops plan crackdown on I-80 from the Bay Area to New Jersey," Gary Richards, July 23, 2013

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