Major Ken Howes or
Florida Highway Patrol
For Release May 23, 2002:
TALLAHASSEE: The 96-hour Memorial Day holiday weekend will begin on Friday, May 24, 2002, and extend through midnight, Monday, May 27, 2002. The Florida Highway Patrol will be participating in three distinct traffic enforcement operations during this period, including Operation C.A.R.E. (a Combined Accident Reduction Effort involving all 50 state police/highway patrol organizations), All-American Buckle Up Week (May 20-27) and the highly-publicized Click It or Ticket enforcement campaign (May 25 - June 2). All three campaigns focus on saving lives, preventing injuries and reducing property damage associated with traffic crashes
Last year during Memorial Day, 45 people were killed in 36 crashes. 44% of these fatal traffic crashes were alcohol-related, and 71% of those killed in vehicles normally equipped with safety belts, were not using them. "We have to get the message out that safety belts save lives, itís the law in Florida to wear them, and if you donít wear them and are stopped for a traffic offense, you will get a ticket. That is what the Click It or Ticket campaign is all about," said Colonel Chris Knight, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol.
All 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 four-day holiday. This strategy is intended to increase the Patrol's presence on major arteries throughout Florida in an effort to deter traffic violators, and also to provide enhanced service to motorists who break down while traveling or need other types of assistance.
Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for every age between 5 and 32. More than half of adults who die in crashes are not buckled up and six out of ten children who die in crashes are unrestrained. "These statistics are unacceptable," added Colonel Knight. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, wearing a seat belt will increase your chance of surviving a traffic crash by as much as 50%.
During the month of May, Buckle Up Florida will host a toll-free number for anyone who wants to voice comments about the Click It or Ticket campaign. 1-877-BUCKLE-UP (877-282-5538) will be available around the clock for anyone wanting to voice their concerns or leave comments about the campaign.
Motorists are reminded to use their cellular phones wisely and safely. FHP urges all drivers to call *FHP (*347) to report aggressive and/or drunk drivers, or if they need assistance on the road. Motorists needing emergency medical services should dial 911.
NOTE: Attached is the 2001 Memorial Day Holiday fatality statistics.