FHP PREPARING FOR HOLIDAY WEEKEND
The Labor Day weekend is coming soon and the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) states in their August 15, 2012 news release that they will be participating in a national effort to get impaired drivers off the road. Hopefully this effort will reduce the number of alcohol related traffic crashes and deaths in Florida. During the years 2002-2009 (eight years) Florida averaged 22,430 alcohol related traffic crashes per year. These incidents resulted in an average of 1,119 alcohol related traffic deaths each year during the eight years surveyed. During that same time Madison County averaged 3 alcohol related traffic deaths each year from an annual rate of 33 alcohol related traffic crashes.
What can be done to reduce these numbers in Madison County? Even one traffic death as a result of alcohol impaired drivers is too many! Here is what you can do:
1. Take personal responsibility to not drink alcohol and drive. You have the right to drink, you have the right to drive, but you do not have the right to drink and drive.
2. Support City, County and State law enforcement efforts to get impaired drivers off the road by reporting drivers that appear to be impaired. FHP is available by cell phone at *347. Use 911 to report impaired drivers to Madison Dispatch.
3. If you have a friend that is drinking do not allow them to drive. It may be at the lake, on the river, in a bar or at home. Be their designated driver or find one to drive them home–but do not allow a drinking friend to drive.
Yes, you will get some resistance to your efforts because people under the influence of alcohol cannot determine for themselves when their impairment begins. Poor judgment and poor reaction time sneaks up on the user. Let them know you are trying to help them because you care about them.
Together we can help make this Labor Day holiday (and the days ahead) safer for our community. And remember this: It is OK not to drink.