While the total number of Florida highway deaths over the long Labor Day week-end are not yet available, the number of car crash related deaths investigated by the Florida Highway Patrol was seven this year compared to the twenty fatalities last year.
From Thursday, August 21 through Labor Day, FHP joined law enforcement officials across the country in the national Over the Limit. Under Arrest. program in an effort to curb driving while drunk. FHP also concentrated on enforcing their own Be Smart, Drive Smart Florida! campaign which is based on Florida’s Move Over Law. The Move Over Law was designed to protect first responders and law enforcement officers when parked along side our streets and highways. It states that:
- On a two-lane roadway, you are required to slow to a speed that is 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit.
- If the speed limit is 20 miles per hour or less, you must slow down to five miles per hour.
- If you are driving on an interstate or roadway with multiple lanes of travel in the same direction, and you approach an emergency or law enforcement vehicle parked along the roadway, you must vacate the lane closest to that vehicle as soon as it is safe to do so. If you are not able to safely move over, you must slow down to a speed of 20 MPH below the posted speed limit unless directed otherwise by a law enforcement officer.
Over Labor Day week-end alone, FHP officers arrested 136 drivers for driving while impaired and issued over 16,000 citations. While there may be some that say that our law enforcement officers should have better things to do than just issuing traffic violations, if they saved just one life from a drunk driver, I think they should be commended. As Col. John Czernis, director of the Florida Highway Patrol put it,
"We are very proud of the dedicated service and commitment to highway safety exhibited by our troopers. Doing our job makes a difference."