The Florida Highway Patrol is launching a beefed-up enforcement effort over Labor Day weekend in collaboration with seven other southern border states that line the 2,460 miles of I-10.
The campaign, called "10-08 on 10, One Road, One Mission" is an "intensified enforcement campaign to keep the roadway safe with zero fatalities," FHP Director Col. David Brierton said at a press conference Thursday morning at an I-10 rest stop.
Florida is partnering with Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California in what Brierton called a "first-time" collaboration between the states, in effect from Aug. 30 to Sept., 2.
The collaboration doesn't mean that troopers from the eight states will be on the radio sharing strategy, but rather that agencies in these states will all be making a concerted effort to enforce traffic safety laws along I-10.
Troopers will be focusing on stopping drunk and drugged drivers, aggressive drivers, speeders and drivers who fail to move to the left hand lane when a law enforcement, emergency or two vehicle is parked on the side of the road. Brierton said the agency will also be on the lookut for distracted drivers (including texters), improper seatbelt use, lane changes and commercial vehicle safety.
Statistics point to the need for concern. During Labor Day weekend in 2012, according to FHP, there were 2,771 total crashes statewide from Aug. 31-Sept. 3, with 18 fatalities. Also during Labor Day in 2012, troopers wrote 10,000 citations, arrested 118 impaired drivers and assisted 2,700 stranded motorists.
Last month, during the July 4th holiday weekend, FHP recorded 2,962 total crashes in Florida with 21 fatal crashes compared to 2,954 crashes and 36 fatal crashes in 2011.
"We'll have all availble troopers out on Interstate 10," during Labor Day weekend, Brierton said, with additional troopers from other areas to join the I-10 effort.
FHP also offered tips for traveling this weekend:
- Get plenty of rest before setting out on a long trip and allow plenty of time to reach your destination.
- Buckle up
- Obey all speed limits
- Drive sober and alert
- Eliminate driver distractions such as texting, talking on the phone, adjusting the stereo, with the advice that anything that can take your eyes off the road, even for a second, can lead to an accident.
- Take steps before you leave to prepare your vehicle for the trip i.e. checking tire pressure/condition and fluid levels.