The statistics don't lie. Too much St. Patrick's Day celebrating can be a real killer.

March 17 is one of the days that highway deaths spike in Iowa, so the Iowa DOT and the State Patrol have joined a task force using traffic data to help decrease these annual fatalities.

According to the Gazette, police have identified four time periods in Iowa that show a higher than average number of traffic deaths.

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Perhaps it's no surprise that St. Patrick's Day, March 17, is one of those annual primary dates.

The other dates that Iowa's law enforcement is focusing on are July 9-12, September 16, and October 2-4.

The task force plans include education and enforcement, with increased patrolling to help lower the state's annual number of traffic fatalities.

The Gazette reports the Iowa State Patrol has partnered with the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau for this effort along with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Iowa Sheriffs and Deputies Association, the Iowa Police Chiefs Association, and the Iowa Department of Transportation.

That's a lot of horsepower to put behind this highway safety effort, which shows how important it is to these agencies to reduce the number of annual traffic deaths in Iowa.

The goal is to drop the number of annual highway deaths to under 300 per year, a level not seen in the state for nearly a century, according to the Gazette.

The four most troubling factors that cops will be watching for are impaired driving, speeding, distracted driving, and not wearing a seat belt.

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