By Steven Cardarella

Recently, 15 state patrol and state police agencies participated with local and municipal law enforcement agencies on the CHALLENGE: 5,681 Miles, Four Days, Zero Fatalities, during a high visibility enforcement (HVE) campaign along the entire length of Interstates 90 and 94.

The CHALLENGE goal was to prevent crashes, injuries and fatalities during peak summer time travel. The campaign involved education, awareness and strict enforcement to save lives and remind all motorists to drive safely and obey important traffic laws. The ultimate goal was to reduce traffic crashes by half, and to prevent fatal crashes during the four-day HVE effort.

During the HVE, which ran from August 1-4, 2014, law enforcement agencies in 15 states participated in the CHALLENGE: Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Washington. Activity reports were collected from participating agencies, and they reported 14,267 traffic stops resulting in 21,214 citations and written warnings during the enforcement period.

During this same time frame over the past three years, the I-90/94 traffic corridor has averaged 534 crashes involving four fatalities. This year, law enforcement officers investigated 427 crashes involving three fatalities. Additionally, the CHALLENGE resulted in 154 impaired driver arrests and 1,046 occupants cited or warned for not wearing their seat belt, and law enforcement agencies conducted 1,690 commercial vehicle inspections.

The Interstate CHALLENGE was initiated and coordinated by the Minnesota State Patrol in cooperation with the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s Drive Campaign, which has the goal of reducing U.S. traffic fatalities by 15 percent. “There was enthusiastic participation by all law enforcement agencies, and a strong spirit of proactivity by law enforcement officers during the campaign,” said Minnesota State Patrol Major Jeff Huettl.

Minnesota State Patrol Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Langer stated: “The CHALLENGE was successful in promoting positive media coverage, resulting in safer travel along the corridor.” State patrol agencies will likely conduct and coordinate future HVE campaigns along the I-90/94 corridor.

To view a promotional video for the CHALLENGE created by the Minnesota State Patrol, visit http://youtu.be/KGDXWwbSmVA.

Steven Cardarella is the NHTSA Region 5 Law Enforcement Liaison (Contractor)