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TALLAHASSEE - The Florida Highway Patrol today announced enforcement plans for both the Christmas and New Years holidays. The 1996 Christmas holiday period will begin at 0001 hours on Tuesday, December 24, 1996, and continue through midnight,Wednesday, December 25, 1996. The New Years holiday period will begin at 0001 hours on Tuesday, December 31, 1996, and end at midnight, Wednesday, January 1, 1997.

During the Christmas and New Years holiday periods last year,74 people lost their lives on Florida's highways; twenty nine(29) during the Christmas holiday and forty five (45) during the New Years period, making New Years the second deadliest holiday of 1996. "We are fortunate that the two holidays are occurring mid-week, reducing the number of holiday hours by one-half; however, we certainly cannot afford to relax our enforcement efforts,"said Colonel Ron Grimming, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. "These holidays, while they represent a time of joy, family get togethers, and a time to reflect, also represent a time of deadly potential to law enforcement. Everyone must be conscious of the increased traffic, the many small children along our streets playing with new Christmas toys, the young drivers with theirfirst car or motorcycle and the many added distractions that driversface during this festive season," Grimming added.

Troopers will focus traffic enforcement toward speeding and reckless driving violations during the daylight hours in high traffic volume areas around the state. The FHP will utilize radar, VASCAR, aircraft,and unmarked patrol cars during this strict enforcement period. During the late night hours, resources will be directed toward the detection and apprehension of the impaired driver. Sobriety Checkpoints will be conducted statewide in each of the 10 Florida Highway Patrol field troops during both holiday periods.

"On behalf of all the men and women of the Florida HighwayPatrol, I would like to wish everyone the best of holiday seasons and to encourage everyone to take a personal traffic safety inventory as part of a New Years resolution for a safer 1997," Grimming concluded.


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