Chief Jim Howell
Florida Highway Patrol
For Release July 2, 2003:
“You Drink and Drive…You Lose”
TALLAHASSEE: As many as 200 additional uniformed Florida Highway Patrol officers may be on patrol during the 4th of July holiday, which begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 4, 2003. The official holiday period will end at midnight, Sunday, July 6, 2003. Twenty-two (22) people are expected to die in traffic crashes during the official 72-hour holiday period, based on fatality experience during the five previous Independence Day holidays from 1998-2002.
As in the past, Colonel Chris Knight, FHP Director, has suspended office operations for all sworn personnel, effective at the close of the workday on Wednesday, July 2nd. All FHP sworn personnel normally assigned to administrative duties will be reassigned to patrol duties beginning Thursday, July 3rd, through Sunday, July 6th. “Even though the official holiday period is only Friday through Sunday, many people will be traveling on Thursday to visit family and friends,” said Colonel Knight.
“The increased visibility that our Troopers have provided during previous holiday periods has provided immeasurable benefits to the motoring public. By having all FHP sworn personnel perform patrol duties Thursday through Sunday, we will continue our commitment to highway safety through increased visibility and enforcement,” Knight added. In addition, FHP troopers are joining officers representing hundreds of other Florida law enforcement agencies as part of a national DUI enforcement mobilization called “You Drink and Drive… You Lose”. The campaign began on June 27th and will continue through July 13, 2003.
During last year’s 48-hour 4th of July holiday, 7 persons were killed in traffic crashes in Florida: 60% of those drivers and passengers who were killed in vehicles normally equipped with safety belts were not using them; also, 43% of the fatal traffic crashes were alcohol-related. Troopers will be concentrating their enforcement efforts on drunk, speeding, and aggressive drivers, and those who fail to buckle up or properly restrain their child passengers.
Motorists are again being encouraged to call *FHP (*347) on their cellular phone to report drunk, aggressive, or other dangerous drivers. Callers can remain anonymous. Motorists who experience car trouble on the highway or otherwise need assistance from the FHP are also encouraged to use *FHP.
NOTE: Attached is the 2003 Fourth of July Holiday fatality statistics.