FOR RELEASE JULY 3, 1996:
ORLANDO - Colonel Ron Grimming, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol , was joined today at an Interstate 4 rest area outside Orlando by Dr. Ricardo Martinez, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration , and Lt. Colonel Gary Gunrud, Assistant Superintendent, Utah Highway Patrol and Chairperson for Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort, to announce state and national traffic enforcement plans for the potentially deadly Independence Day holiday. Ms. Barbara Foley, R.N., also participated in the 10:00 a.m. news conference and discussed emergency medical issues associated with traffic crashes.
The 120-hour holiday period began at 12:01 a.m. today and will run through midnight, Sunday, July 7, 1996. In 1995, 49 persons were killed in 47 traffic crashes in Florida during the long Independence Day celebration, making it last year’s deadliest holiday.
"Strict traffic enforcement operations are underway throughout Florida," said Colonel Grimming. "Our goal is to cut last year’s death toll in half. We hope to accomplish this by specifically targeting dangerous and aggressive drivers who jeopardize the lives of innocent motorists traveling this weekend," Grimming added.
Troopers on the ground and in the air will be looking for drivers exhibiting aggressive driving behaviors, such as tailgating, lane surfing, and other dangerous maneuvers. In addition, DUI sobriety checkpoint operations are planned in each of FHP’s ten field troops. Selective traffic enforcement squads will target drunk, aggressive, speeding, and unbuckled motorists during the holiday weekend.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has just released another update of Campaign Safe and Sober, called "Speed Shatters Life". Campaign Safe and Sober is a two-year national traffic safety campaign designed to reduce alcohol-related traffic deaths to 43 percent and increase safety belt usage to 75 percent by 1997. "Speeding and aggressive driving go hand-in-hand," said Dr. Martinez, NHTSA’s Administrator. "That’s why aggressive driving behavior, such as running red lights, or improper lane changing, often involves speed and can result in a tragic consequence," Dr. Martinez emphasized.
Operation C.A.R.E. is a national organization founded in 1977, comprised of state police and highway patrol organizations in all 50 states, as well as law enforcement agencies in the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Canada. The organization was formed as a multi-jurisdictional program of patrol, enforcement, and planning activities committed to the goal of traffic accident reduction during major holiday periods.
"The dangerous driving practices described here in Florida are also prevalent throughout the country," emphasized Lt. Colonel Gunrud. "That’s why I am here today, representing Operation C.A.R.E. member jurisdictions, to get the message out that unsafe driving acts are being targeted for enforcement actions throughout the United States, Canada, and other provinces and territories this weekend," Gunrud warned.
Motorists with cellular phones are reminded to dial *FHP to report drunk or reckless drivers, traffic crashes, or other suspicious incidents. Callers needing emergency medical or fire rescue assistance should continue to dial 911.