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Major Ernesto Duarte
Florida Highway Patrol

For Release September 1, 2005:

Tallahassee - The Florida Highway Patrol will be out in force during the Labor Day holiday weekend, which will begin at 00:01 a.m. Friday, September 2, 2005, and conclude at midnight, Monday, September 5, 2005. Additionally, the FHP will be participating in the You Drink and Drive. You Lose. – Labor Day enforcement crackdown, which began Friday, August 19, and concludes Monday, September 5, 2005.

As in the past, Colonel Chris Knight, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol, has suspended office operations for all sworn personnel, effective at the close of the workday on Thursday, September 1st. All FHP sworn personnel normally assigned to administrative duties will be reassigned to patrol duties beginning Friday, September 2nd, through Monday, September 5th. “Even though the official holiday period is Saturday through Monday, many people will be leaving on Friday to make the most of the last extended weekend of summer,” said Colonel Knight.

Impaired driving is one of America’s most-often-committed crimes. Preliminary crash statistics for 2004 indicate that more than 1,050 persons were killed in alcohol-related traffic crashes last year. “It's easy to forget that dry statistics represent real people and real lives. Our troopers are too familiar with the unpleasant responsibility of knocking on the door of a residence, and having to tell someone that their loved one is not coming home,” Knight added.

Drivers arrested for D.U.I. in Florida face: license suspension or revocation; having their vehicles impounded or confiscated; increased penalties such as fines and/or jail time, higher insurance rates; and the stigma of being arrested for D.U.I.

During last year’s 96-hour Labor Day holiday, 23 people were killed in traffic crashes in Florida: 59% of those drivers and passengers who were killed in vehicles normally equipped with safety belts were not using them; also, 32% of the fatal traffic crashes were alcohol-related.

Troopers will be concentrating their enforcement efforts on drunk, speeding, and aggressive drivers, and those who fail to buckle up or properly restrain their child passengers.

Motorists are again being encouraged to call *FHP (*347) on their cellular phone to report drunk, aggressive, or other dangerous drivers. Callers can remain anonymous. Motorists who experience car trouble on the highway or otherwise need assistance from the FHP are also encouraged to use *FHP.



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