Captain David Tripp
Florida Highway Patrol
For Release November 26, 1997:
Pizza Hut Shows Drivers How "Seat Belts Give Them The Edge"
TALLAHASSEE - Today, Lt. Colonel Charles C. Hall, Acting Director of the Florida Highway Patrol, announced the agency's traffic enforcement plan for the 120-hour Thanksgiving holiday, officially beginning at 0001 hours on Wednesday, November 26, 1997, and ending at midnight Sunday, November 30, 1997.
Last year 42 people died in 40 traffic crashes throughout Florida during the holiday. 38% of the fatalities were alcohol related. "Seventy four percent of those killed last year during Thanksgiving were not buckled up," said Lt. Colonel Hall. "That’s 23 people who might have been saved if they had only taken 3 seconds to buckle their safety belts," Hall added. These statistics are part of the reason FHP announced a "zero tolerance" policy concerning Florida’s safety belt and child restraint laws on November 21, 1997.
Once again Pizza Hut is partnering with the FHP and local law enforcement agencies to encourage motorists to buckle up. They will provide a special Buy One/Get One Free pizza coupon for their new The Edgeš Pizza. The program theme is "Seatbelts Give You The Edge". The effort will enable officers to reward motorists who are stopped and are properly buckled up. This special program will run through the end of the year. This unique partnership is an outgrowth of a similar program that started with FHP and Pizza Hut during the 1997 Memorial Day holiday period.
Special enforcement strategies will be implemented with the hope of reducing traffic related fatalities and assisting the motoring public. These plans include roadside sobriety checkpoints, roving "wolfpack" patrols, and selective enforcement operations using aircraft, VASCAR, laser, and radar aimed at reducing speeding violations. In addition, DUI checkpoint operations are planned throughout the state during the long weekend.
Lt. Colonel Hall continued, "Generally, we find the highest speeds and most aggressive driving behavior on the first and the last day of the holiday period. This is because motorists fail to budget enough travel time and consequently experience the most congestion on the roads during these two days."
Motorists are encouraged to avoid traveling at night, because 60% of last years' fatalities, and the majority of holiday fatalities in general, occur after sunset. Everyone is reminded to dial *FHP (347) on their cellular phones if they require assistance or need to report a problem such as an impaired driver. The FHP also asks motorists to report drivers who display aggressive behavior to the nearest highway patrol station via *FHP.