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35 Expected to Die During July 4th weekend

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Major Ken Howes or
Florida Highway Patrol

For Release Thursday, June 29, 2000

TALLAHASSEE - The Florida Highway Patrol is anticipating that at least 35 people will die during the 120 hour Independence Day holiday weekend that will begin at 0001 hours Friday, June 30th and extend through midnight, Tuesday, July 4th. The grim prediction is based on traffic fatality experience during the last three Independence Day holiday periods. The use of alcohol while driving and the lack of seat belt usage are expected to be two of the major factors in this year’s holiday traffic death count.

Last year, 31 persons were killed in traffic crashes throughout Florida during the 96-hour Independence Day holiday period. At least 39% of the fatal crashes during last year’s holiday were alcohol-related and 59% of drivers and passengers who had seat belts available were NOT wearing them. Close to 1,500 persons have been killed in traffic crashes so far during 2000 – about 9 percent more than during the same period in 1999.

"The Florida Highway Patrol will provide full staffing throughout the weekend on all major roadways and will aggressively enforce all traffic laws to help ensure that motorists have a safe and happy weekend", said Colonel Charles C. Hall, Director of FHP. Troopers will continue a "no excuses-zero tolerance" enforcement posture toward DUI and occupant restraint violations in an effort to keep the highways safe this weekend. In conjunction with National Sobriety Checkpoint Week (June 28 – July 5), DUI checkpoints have been scheduled in many counties throughout Florida as well as selective enforcement patrols, also known as "wolfpacks".

Motorists should expect some travel delays due to extremely heavy traffic throughout the holiday weekend. FHP officials are reminding motorists to report any erratic drivers or unsafe road conditions by dialing *FHP (a free call) from their cellular phone. Due to the entire State of Florida being under extremely dry conditions and because the potential for wildfires is great, motorists should monitor news media traffic reports for changing road/driving conditions.

NOTE: A copy of FHP’s statewide weekend holiday enforcement plans, traffic fatality information from the 1999 Independence Day holiday, and an updated statewide listing of FHP Public Information Officers was attached to this release.


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