EUSTIS — The Lake County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) and local law enforcement announced the support of a state enforcement December crackdown, titled “Drinking and Drugs Don’t Mix With Driving.”
Alcohol and drugs were factors in more than 23,000 crashes in Florida last year, resulting in nearly 17,000 injuries. About 44 percent of Florida’s crash fatalities last year were a result of impaired drivers, which is nearly four fatalities per day. To combat the problem, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is teaming up with the Governor’s Office of Drug Control, the Florida Department of Transportation, law enforcement organizations across the state and safety advocates during National Drunk and Drugged Driving (3D) Prevention Month in collaborative efforts to eliminate impaired drivers from Florida’s roadways.
During the five-day Christmas holiday travel period in 2008, 14 people died in alcohol-related crashes. The New Year’s Day holiday travel period experienced the highest fatality rate per hour (0.44). During the four-day period, 62 percent of the 42 fatalities involved alcohol.
“Law enforcement will be out in force making sure drunk drivers are off the road,” said Noble Olasimbo, Chairman of the Lake County CTST. “During the holiday season and year-round, take steps to make sure that you and everyone with whom you celebrate avoid driving under the influence.”
The Lake County CTST and local law enforcement recommend designating a sober driver and not letting friends drive drunk. Other important tips include:
- Whenever you plan on consuming alcohol, designate a sober driver before going out and give that person your keys.
- When impaired, call a taxi, use mass transit or call a sober friend or family member to get home safely.
- Promptly report drunk drivers to law enforcement.
- Wearing a seat belt or using protective gear on a motorcycle is the best defense against an impaired driver.
The Florida Highway Patrol, often working in conjunction with local law enforcement partners, will conduct sobriety checkpoints and aggressively enforce Florida’s DUI laws by participating in the national campaign, “Drunk Driving – Over the Limit – Under Arrest.” between Dec. 16 and Jan. 3. For more information, log on to www.stopimpaireddriving.org. For more information about the Lake County CTST, call Noble Olasimbo at (352) 483-9092, Cheryl Sutherland at (352) 483-9048.