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Memorial Day 2003

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Chief Ken Howes or
Florida Highway Patrol

For Release May 22, 2003:

TALLAHASSEE: The 96-hour Memorial Day holiday weekend will begin on Friday, May 23, 2003, and extend through midnight, Monday, May 26, 2003. 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 19-26), and the highly publicized Click It or Ticket enforcement campaign (May 19 - June 1). All three campaigns focus on saving lives, preventing injuries and reducing property damage associated with traffic crashes.

Last year during the Memorial Day holiday, 30 people were killed in 29 fatal traffic crashes. 24% of these fatal traffic crashes were alcohol-related, and 63% of those killed in vehicles normally equipped with safety belts, were not using them.

“The Click It or Ticket campaign that our troopers, sheriff’s deputies, and city police officers are participating in has a single goal in mind — not to see how many tickets can be written – but to save lives and reduce serious injuries associated with traffic crashes,” emphasized Colonel Chris Knight, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol.

Florida’s statistics are clear; getting people buckled up is the single most effective thing that can be done to save lives. Researchers have also shown that most adults who don’t buckle up themselves —don’t buckle up their children. In addition, researchers have indicated that drivers who wear their safety belts are three times more likely to restrain their child passengers. More than half of all adults who die in crashes are not buckled up, and six out of ten children who are killed in crashes are unrestrained. Nearly half of these people would be alive today if they’d just taken the time to buckle up.

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.

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.


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