Major Ernesto Duarte
Florida Highway Patrol
For Immediate Release:
Tallahassee - Lt. Colonel John Czernis, interim director for the Florida Highway Patrol, announced today the kick-off of FHP’s statewide enforcement efforts in advance of the heavily traveled Thanksgiving holiday weekend. “To ensure the safest possible driving environment for the people of Florida, each of our ten troops has developed a comprehensive traffic law enforcement plan that addresses impaired driving, safety belt use and child restraint violations, aggressive driving, speeding, and other hazardous moving violations,” said Lt. Colonel Czernis. “Greater compliance to traffic laws would go a long way towards curbing the number of traffic related deaths in our state,” added Czernis.
The Florida Highway Patrol reminds all motorists that traffic will increase significantly along Florida's roadways during the upcoming 120-hour Thanksgiving holiday weekend, beginning at 12:01 a.m., Wednesday, November 21, continuing through midnight Sunday, November 25, 2007. In an effort to increase the Patrol's presence on Florida roadways, office operations for all sworn personnel have been canceled effective at the close of the workday on Tuesday, November 20, 2007. All FHP sworn personnel normally assigned to administrative duties will be reassigned to patrol duties on high volume roadways throughout the five-day holiday period. “The increased presence of our troopers during holiday periods is of immeasurable benefit to the motoring public,” stated Lt. Colonel Czernis.
FHP troopers, however, need the public's help to reduce fatalities and personal injury collisions. The FHP cautions motorists not to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol and not to drive tired or drowsy (fatigued). It is important that motorists take responsibility for their own driving actions and obey all traffic laws. FHP troopers will be out in force watching for those drivers who choose to break the law by driving in ways that endanger themselves and others.
Notably, during last year’s Thanksgiving holiday period, 48 persons were killed in 45 crashes: 11 (58%) of the 19 drivers and passengers who were killed in vehicles equipped with safety belts were not using them; also, 20 (42%) of the deaths were alcohol-related.
The Florida Highway Patrol would like to remind everyone to Move Over when approaching an authorized emergency vehicle making use of any visual signals is parked or a wrecker displaying amber rotating or flashing lights is performing a recovery or loading on the roadside. Motorists are also urged to contact the FHP or local law enforcement officials when reporting an impaired, aggressive, or dangerous driver. To reach the Florida Highway Patrol, simply dial *FHP (*347) from a cellular phone. 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.