Chief Jim Howell
Florida Highway Patrol
For Release November 21, 2003:
TALLAHASSEE: As many as 200 additional uniformed Florida Highway Patrol officers may be on patrol during the Thanksgiving Holiday, which begins at 00:01 a.m. Wednesday, November 26, 2003. The official holiday period will end at midnight, Sunday, November 30, 2003. Forty (40) people are expected to die in traffic crashes during the official 96-hour holiday period, based on fatality experience during the five previous Thanksgiving 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 Tuesday, November 25th. All FHP sworn personnel normally assigned to administrative duties will be reassigned to patrol duties beginning Wednesday, November 26th, through Sunday, November 30th. "Even though the official holiday period is only Thursday through Sunday, many people will be traveling on Wednesday 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 Wednesday through Sunday, we will continue our commitment to highway safety through increased visibility and enforcement," Knight added.
During last year's 120-hour Thanksgiving Holiday, 49 persons were killed in forty-four (44) crashes in Florida: 67% of those drivers and passengers who were killed in vehicles normally equipped with safety belts were not using them; also, 45% of the deaths were alcohol-related. As a result, 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.
2003 Thanksgiving Holiday preliminary fatality statistics.
2002 Thanksgiving Holiday fatality statistics.