Major Ernesto Duarte
Florida Highway Patrol
For Release July 2, 2007:
Tallahassee - The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) expects traffic volume to increase during the 4th of July holiday period. Motorists are encouraged to drive responsibly and to use designated drivers as a strategy to prevent alcohol related crashes and fatalities.
“Holidays present a great opportunity to enjoy family, friends as well as the great State of Florida’s many outdoor offerings. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle’s mission is making highways safe. Sadly, holiday weekends are often deadly for our motorists. The Department urges all motorists to be careful, obey traffic laws, drive responsibly – and buckle up,” stated Electra Bustle, Executive Director for the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV).
“In order to ensure a safe holiday experience for everyone, Florida Highway Patrol troopers will be conducting enforcement patrols during the July 4th holiday, which begins at 12:01 AM Tuesday, July 3, and ends at midnight, Sunday, July 8, 2007,” stated Colonel Chris Knight, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol.
Uniformed FHP personnel, normally assigned to administrative duties in the office, will be assisting regular troopers by patrolling interstates and other major state roads throughout the six-day holiday period. This strategy is intended to increase the Patrol's presence on major arteries throughout Florida in an effort to deter traffic violators, and to provide enhanced service to motorists who break down while traveling or need other types of assistance.
During last year’s 120-hour 4th of July holiday, 48 persons were killed in traffic crashes in Florida: 59% of those drivers and passengers who were killed in vehicles normally equipped with safety belts were not using them; also, 55% of the fatal traffic crashes were alcohol-related. Troopers will be concentrating their enforcement efforts on impaired, speeding and aggressive drivers, and those who fail to buckle up or properly restrain their child passengers.
Florida’s statistics are clear -- getting people buckled up is the single most effective thing that can be done to save lives. Studies have also shown that most adults who don’t buckle up themselves -don’t buckle up their children. Nationally, more than half of all adults who die in traffic crashes are not buckled up, and six out of ten children who are killed in crashes are unrestrained.
Motorists are urged to contact the FHP or local law enforcement agencies to report an impaired, aggressive or dangerous driver (to reach the Florida Highway Patrol, simply dial *FHP (*347) from a cellular phone). 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. For real-time traffic and road condition reports, as well as maps and other safety tips, the public is urged to visit the FHP website at www.flhsmv.gov/fhp.
Florida drivers can also call 511 on their cell phone for up-to-the minute updates on traffic jams, road construction, lane closures, severe weather and travel times on Interstates and major highways.
The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles encourages anyone with a valid Florida driver license or identification card to go online to www.flhsmv.gov and enter their emergency contact information. This vital information gives law enforcement immediate access to this information and makes it easier for them to speak with someone quicker in cases of emergency.