Attention anyone who plans on driving on Florida’s highways anytime between now and October 20th. The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) has announced a crackdown geared at safety between cars and large trucks.
Report an impaired driver in Palm Beach County and you could get $100.
During the holiday party season, the number of drunken revelers rises, so county residents are being enlisted in the DUI battle.
“It gives law enforcement additional eyes on the road,” said Donna Bryan, spokeswoman for the Safety Council of the Palm Beaches. “Everyone should have an interest in getting impaired drivers off the roads because it could be someone who hits your loved one.”
DAVIE — Law enforcement in the six states connected by Interstate 75 will crack down this weekend on drivers who speed or don’t use their seat belts.
“We want to remind all motorists to always use seat belts,” said Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Mark Wysocky about the three day enforcement effort that began Friday. “The seat belt is your vehicle’s most important safety feature. All children 3 and under must be in a car seat, in a back seat.” Motorists may notice a bigger trooper presence in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan.
At the Florida Highway Patrol’s Davie barracks on Friday, a trooper took off on I-75 to aim radar and lasers at lead-footed motorists.
Such safety efforts have previously happened along Interstate 10 and Interstate 95.
During each quarter in 2014, the enforcement moved to I-75 as part of the International Association of Chiefs of Police’ campaign to reduce traffic deaths, Wysocky said.
In March, troopers along the corridor focused on distracted drivers.
In June, raising awareness about the Move Over law — which requires drivers to change lanes or, if not possible, to slow to 20 mph less than the posted speed limit when law enforcement is stopped and with lights flashing — was the goal.
In December, troopers will look for impaired drivers, Wysocky said.
Patrol methods in Florida this weekend will also include planes that are nicknamed “bears in the air.”
Aircraft flying at about 1,500 feet will track speeders and alert the agency’s black and tan patrol cars that line up along the highway about which offenders to pull over.
The planes are expected to fly over I-75 in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, Wysocky said.
Beefed-up patrols on the coastal road will occur 7-9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday and 5-8 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. Police departments from Jupiter to Fort Lauderdale are participating in the campaign, along with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Highway Patrol.
It’s the second time this year law enforcement has united to bring some decorum to the narrow, scenic road where conflicts have arisen between all groups who use it.
Drivers complain about bike packs taking up the road. Cyclists criticize drivers who pass by them too closely, barely sharing the road. Pedestrians fear getting hit while trying to cross the road to the beach.
“We just wanted to reinforce the message,” said Tara Kirschner, spokeswoman for South Florida Safe Roads Task Force, the group behind the safety campaign.
In the spring, law enforcement issued 148 warnings and 175 citations in an enforcement effort on A1A between Palm Beach and Hillsboro Beach. Two cyclists were arrested.
People’s behavior on the road did change after the initial enforcement campaign, Kirschner said. But that didn’t last long.
“After that, it resorted back to the same thing. They forgot to behave well,” she said. “That’s why we have to do it on a regular basis.”
The safety campaign this time around has expanded at the request of police departments whose towns and cities include A1A and are experiencing problems with conflicts between motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.
In addition to the extra police presence on A1A, the task force also is having a safety fair from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at Boynton Beach Oceanfront Park, 6415 N. Ocean Drive. There will be food, games, safety demonstrations and free bike helmets.
Powerline Road drivers be warned: