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31 Traffic Deaths Expected During
Labor Day Weekend

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Major Ken Howes or
Florida Highway Patrol

For Release Thursday, August 31, 2000

TALLAHASSEE - The Florida Highway Patrol anticipates that 31 people will be killed in traffic crashes during the 96-hour Labor Day holiday weekend, beginning at 0001 hours Friday, September 1, 2000, and extending through midnight, Monday, September 4, 2000. The prediction is based on traffic fatality experience during the last three Labor Day holiday periods.

In an effort to reduce traffic deaths and serious injuries that are likely to occur, Florida Highway Patrol troopers and local law enforcement officers representing close to 300 police and sheriff's departments will join forces during the 6th phase of Buckle Up Florida, a statewide enforcement and education campaign that focuses on increasing motorist's compliance with Florida's safety belt and child restraint laws. The Buckle Up Florida campaign will run September 2-10. "Motorists who are stopped for a traffic violation and found unrestrained can expect to receive a citation from virtually any officer from any law enforcement agency," warned Colonel Charles C. Hall, Director of FHP. FHP troopers have maintained a "zero tolerance" enforcement policy for safety belt and child restraint violations since November 1997.

During last year's Labor Day holiday, 26 persons were killed in traffic crashes. Sixty-eight percent (68%) of the drivers and passengers killed in vehicles normally equipped with safety belts were not using them. In addition, thirty-eight percent (38%) of the fatal crashes occurring during the Labor Day holiday were alcohol related.

In addition to strict enforcement of safety belt and child restraint laws as part of the Buckle up Florida Campaign during the holiday period, FHP troop commanders have asked troopers to aggressively target drunk drivers. A total of nine (9) DUI checkpoint operations and forty-six (46) DUI "wolfpack" patrols are planned throughout the state during the holiday weekend. Also, thirty-six aircraft speed enforcement details are scheduled during daylight hours along major interstate systems as well as Florida's Turnpike. "Our mission is to make the last official holiday of the summer season a safe one for those traveling throughout Florida," added Colonel Hall.

NOTE: A complete listing of enforcement plans by troop/region and a summary of 1999 Labor Day traffic fatalities was attached as part of this release.


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