Cross-country I-80 crackdown set to begin

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The Ohio State Patrol will be joining other law enforcement agencies from New Jersey to California for “I-80 Cross-Country Crackdown.”

The “More Cops, More Stops” campaign is aimed at enforcing life-saving traffic safety laws during the busy summertime travel season.

Officials say lives are lost by motorists violating the most basic traffic laws and have seen many vacations end in tragedy.

“At a fatal crash, I can remember smelling the mixture of diesel fuel and men’s cologne from a suitcase,” said Sgt. William Bancroft, Ohio State Patrol Canfield Post. “I just remember the scent together. I never forgot about that.”

The campaign will begin July 24 and run through July 31. Officers will be targeting impaired or aggressive driving and speeding with a goal of achieving a zero fatality rate for the eight-day period.

“It just shows the partnership with all the other state patrols across the county. It just shows you how close knit we need to be as far as enforcement efforts go on Interstate 80. Speed, seat belts, anything that contributes to crashes and fatalities we will be kicking up our enforcement efforts,” said Bancroft. “It just validates what we do on a daily basis. It brings full circle for us. When it’s on a large scale like this, it helps people focus on how big of a task it is.”

In 2011, more than 23,000 people were killed in crashes across the United States. Of those fatalities, 52 percent were not wearing seat belts. Distracted driving and speeding accounted for 13,300 deaths. Crashes involving intoxicated drivers accounted for 9,900 deaths.

The U.S. Department of Transportation Highway Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is providing funding for the program.

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