Chief Ken Howes or
Florida Highway Patrol
For Release Tuesday, November 26, 2002:
TALLAHASSEE: The Florida Highway Patrol is anticipating that 40 people will be killed in traffic crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday period that begins at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, November 27, 2002, and ends at midnight Sunday, November 1, 2002. As a result of this grim prediction, Colonel Chris Knight, Director of the FHP, today announced traffic enforcement plans for the upcoming 120-hour Thanksgiving Holiday. Colonel Knight is cautioning motorists of the potentially dangerous travel conditions during the long holiday period. Last year, 36 people were killed in traffic crashes in Florida during the Thanksgiving holiday.
As has become customary during holiday periods over the last 16 months, Colonel Knight has instructed all available troopers and supervisors to discontinue office duties, and heavily patrol interstates, major state roads, and Florida’s turnpike throughout the holiday weekend, placing special emphasis on drunk drivers, speeders, aggressive drivers, and those who refuse to comply with Florida’s seat belt and child restraint laws. Radar, aircraft, laser, and numerous unmarked patrol cars will be used throughout the state during the holiday.
In addition, a large coalition of county and municipal law enforcement agencies will join FHP troopers throughout Florida to participate in the Buckle Up Florida! campaign November 23rd through December 1st. Buckle Up Florida! is an intensified safety belt and child restraint enforcement program designed to increase occupant restraint compliance and reduce deaths and serious injuries associated with traffic crashes. State troopers, city police officers, and sheriff’s deputies from participating agencies have pledged a “Zero Tolerance” approach to safety belt and child restraint violations during this period. Motorists who are stopped for a traffic violation during the Buckle Up Florida! campaign period and found unrestrained can expect to receive a citation – no warnings will be issued.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates that 8.8 million people in the Southeast will travel by car over the holiday. FHP officials urge those who are traveling during the Thanksgiving Holiday period to allow plenty of time to reach their destination, and to avoid traveling at night if at all possible. Historically, the majority of holiday traffic fatalities occur during hours of darkness. Motorists can expect heavy traffic on all of Florida’s interstates and the turnpike, especially on Wednesday and Sunday, when most people travel to and from their destinations. On Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, highways are also expected to be congested due to what many people consider the busiest shopping day of the year. Motorists equipped with cellular telephones who need assistance from the FHP, or who want to report drunk or aggressive drivers, or any other highway emergency, are encouraged to dial *FHP.