Major Ernesto Duarte
Florida Highway Patrol
For Release March 17, 2005:
Tallahassee - Colonel Chris Knight, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), today announced plans for "Operation Safe Break", scheduled for March 18 through April 28, 2005, to coincide with spring break activities throughout Florida. “We have noticed through the years that during spring break, many students attempt to drive long distances at high speed, in many cases, without resting in order to reach their spring break destination," said Colonel Knight. "These factors sometimes result in drivers falling asleep at the wheel and ending up crashing, sometimes with unfortunate results," he added.
Historically, March and April have been the peak months each year for traffic crashes in Florida. These two months correspond with several special events in Florida which increase traffic volumes and the types of travel that are more likely to lead to traffic fatalities. The special events, which actually begin in February, cause an increase in travel throughout the state. Bike Week and race weeks in Daytona Beach, Spring Break, and Easter vacations all contribute to an increase in the number of vehicles on Florida's roadways. Add to this the onset of the northern migration of the state's "seasonal" population and the scene is set for major traffic challenges.
In an effort to provide the citizens and visitors of Florida with a safe driving environment during this period, the FHP will be conducting Operation Safe Break details in all ten field troops statewide. Special overtime funding provided by the Florida Legislature will be used in order to increase the presence of troopers on interstates, state roads, the Florida Turnpike, and other areas where law enforcement presence is essential. Troopers will be using radar, laser, aircraft, Mercury Marauders, and unmarked patrol cars in their enforcement efforts.
“Through the use of selective enforcement details and increased visibility of our troopers, we hope to experience a safer spring break period this year," stated Colonel Knight. Each FHP field troop has planned different enforcement activities for the duration of Operation Safe Break; however, the overall goals of the initiative are the same:
- To reduce traffic deaths, injuries, and property damage attributed to vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
- To aggressively enforce all laws related to traffic flow.
- To reduce criminal activities occurring on targeted roadways through detection, prevention, and aggressive enforcement.
- To create a safer driving environment through public education concerning safety belt usage, awareness of driving under the influence, and the hazards of speeding.
- To maintain high visibility patrol and assist the motoring public, while ensuring the safety of those traveling our highways.