DES MOINES - Police from across the country gathered in Iowa Wednesday to kick off a campaign to beef up patrols along Interstate 80 for the next eight days.
Safety officials from many of the states involved came to Iowa Capitol to launch the campaign. The goal is to eliminate fatalities along the I-80 highway, a 2,900 mile road which runs from New Jersey to California.
"I am very proud to be here today," said Gov. Terry Branstad. "I believe the I-80 Challenge provides us with a wonderful opportunity."
Patrick Hoye, the bureau chief of the Iowa Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau, said that in Iowa the number of state troopers along I-80 will increase from about eight to 20 during the campaign. He said there will also be additional state and local personal on the road. Hoye said that in Iowa, on average there is a serious or fatal crash on I-80 every four days.
Branstad has been under fire recently for a speeding incident involving his SUV. In April, an Iowa trooper clocked Branstad's SUV going 84 mph, but the car was not stopped after it was determined it was Branstad inside. A trooper who complained about the incident was fired, but officials say the firing wasn't related to the speeding.
Branstad said Wednesday that he was not driving and he has instructed the troopers to follow the law in future.
"I believe we need to lead by example and hold people accountable when they made mistake," Branstad said. "I made it clear to the governor's security detail, I expect them to obey the law."