LCPD relaunches traffic safety program

The Lake City Police Department (LCPD) will relaunch its Strategic Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) following a two-year COVID-19 delay. 

In an LCPD release, the program—funded by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)—will target traffic violators from speeders to impaired and aggressive drivers along with vehicle occupant protection. 

STEP uses LCPD officers working overtime assignments that target enforcement in high-crash and high-violation areas based on FDOT’s annual crash data.

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“We have successfully operated these programs in the past,” said LCPD Chief Gerald Butler in the release. “We discontinued the operation during the pandemic, but we have started to see an increase in crash rates as a result.”

The STEP program has officers conducting high visibility enforcement along Lake City’s major roadways while specifically targeting people driving at high rates of speed or aggressively. They will also look for vehicle drivers and occupants not wearing seat belts. The nighttime operations will focus on removing impaired drivers from the roadways.

“This program includes educational components as well as enforcement,” Butler said in the release. “We do not believe everyone stopped needs to receive a ticket, however citations are the most proven effective method of impacting driver behavior as a whole.”

STEP officers will also conduct checkpoints and stationary enforcement, outreach and educational programs, and promote traffic safety to different age groups.

“Our roadways are unique in how many major thoroughfares come together, bringing large amounts of traffic to a community that would not otherwise support that much road use,” Butler said. “Our goal is to help keep everyone, visitors and residents alike, safe when driving on the roads in Lake City.”

According to the release, Lake City has a residential population of around 12,000, but it averages nearly three times that many vehicles driving on its roadways every day and as high as 46,500 for its average daily traffic.

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