Major Ernesto Duarte
Florida Highway Patrol
For Release October 23, 2007:
Today, Lt. Colonel John Czernis, Interim Director of the Florida Highway Patrol, announced the start of Operation Safe Ride, a statewide traffic enforcement operation aimed at the drivers of semi-trucks and other commercial motor vehicles. Operation Safe Ride will run from Wednesday, October 24 through Thursday, October 25, 2007. This operation is part of a series of long-term enforcement efforts that focus on top priority traffic safety issues to help reduce deaths and injuries on Florida’s roadways.
"During this Operation, FHP troopers will be watching for unsafe drivers, especially those who contribute to collisions between passenger vehicles and large trucks. We certainly recognized that the vast majority of commercial motor vehicle operators drive in a responsible and law abiding manner. However, because of vehicle size, weight, and the type of cargo hauled by commercial vehicles, the potential for causing mass destruction to other vehicles or property is very real. It is, therefore, imperative that commercial truck drivers obey state and federal laws and regulations meant to protect their safe passage and that of the motoring public," stated Lt. Colonel Czernis.
Florida traffic data from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shows that while only a small percentage of crashes involve commercial motor vehicles a disproportionate number of fatal crashes involve commercial trucks. Of the percentage of total crashes last year, commercial trucks were involved in approximately 8%; however in fatal crashes, commercial trucks were involved in approximately 13% -- a significantly higher percentage. Drivers of smaller vehicles, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians are all at a considerable disadvantage if involved in collisions with large trucks.
For this Operation, all available FHP personnel will be on the road, including troopers and supervisors normally assigned to non-patrol functions, tracking traffic law violators using laser, radar, Vascar, video cameras, motorcycles, and unmarked patrol vehicles. FHP pilots will be on patrol spotting violators from the air and directing troopers on the ground to pull them over to initiate appropriate enforcement action. Troopers will heighten enforcement efforts on every interstate, Florida's turnpike, and other major state roads where speeding and aggressive driving are prevalent.
The Florida Highway Patrol would like to remind all motorists to Move Over when approaching patrol cars, emergency vehicles, or tow trucks parked on the roadside displaying flashing lights. Please give us room to work and help us stay safe while we do our jobs!