FHP launches traffic enforcement operation

The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) continues its crackdown on dangerous driving, focusing on speeding and seat belts this week during Operation Southern Shield.

The enforcement event lasts from Monday through Friday, July 24, and will involve law enforcement in Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Alabama.

“The Florida Highway Patrol will be highly visible across Florida, especially in the I-75 corridors, I-10, 95 and the turnpike, focusing on speeding enforcement and aggressive drivers,” Maj. William Tierney, commander of FHP Troop B, said at a news conference Monday.

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He said crash fatalities around the state had increased 5.5 percent over the last year, along with a 15 percent increase in crashes.

“To put it simply: crashes are becoming more deadly,” Tierney said.

The FHP has also seen increases in dangerous driving, including extreme speeding violations of 50 mph or more over the posted speed limit. In May, Florida drivers racked up an all-time high of 238 violations for these extremely dangerous speeds, according to FHP.

Tierney said law enforcement encountered someone driving at interstate speeds through a school zone.

“Unfortunately, many drivers think they’re invincible, and we’re hoping to educate those drivers to keep all of our motorists safe during this period of time,” Tierney said.

He cited lower speeds and seat belt usage as the most important safety measures drivers can take.

Historically, July sees an increase in violations, and the month falls right in the middle of the 100 deadliest days of summer, the time between Memorial and Labor days that see the most teenage vehicle fatalities.

“We’re going to use the staffing that we have to work this detail from July 19 through the 24th to the best of our ability,” Lt. Pat Riordan, public affairs officer for FHP Troop B, said at the news conference.

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