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March 22, 2019

This past weekend saw the convergence of three events that habitually take place around this time of year and always lead to a sharp increase in the number of drunk driving accidents and injuries. These events are, of course, the beginning of Spring Break, the end of Bike Week, and St. Patrick’s Day. In order to hopefully cut down on the number of crashes and deaths that the mixture of celebrations can often induce, 12 different law enforcement groups throughout the Central Florida area teamed up to create what they identified as a Saturation Patrol.

The figures released from the Florida Highway Patrol indicated that last March saw a dramatic uptick in fatal accidents throughout Central Florida when compared to the rest of the year. All in all, 39 different deadly accidents happened in March, with 12 of them taking place within Orange County. Throughout the entire state, the total number of collisions that happened during this period of time was 36,000. Out of this number, 4,898 of them were the result of people driving while intoxicated. Law enforcement officials strongly believe that the three events mentioned above contributed to these figures.

Troopers who were a part of this initiative to crack down on drunk driving reported seeing cars that weren’t able to maintain a single lane of travel, cars that had no lights on while traveling down the highway, and even drivers that were hunched over behind the wheel, completely asleep.

The initiative launched this past weekend mirrors a similar plan to cut down on drunk driving that took place almost 50 days ago. On the launch date of that stronger enforcement of DUI patrols, an officer with the Orlando Police Department was struck by a driver who was subsequently charged with a DUI. That accident involved three vehicles, including the police cruiser, and resulted after the intoxicated driver of a pickup truck struck the patrol car and caused it to crash into another vehicle. The officer involved in the incident returned to duty in time to be part of this past weekend’s activities, saying that they were more committed than ever to preventing drunk drivers from making it very far while traveling along Central Florida roadways.

At the time of this writing there is no information available regarding the number of DUI traffic stops, accidents, or arrests.

Sources:

James O. Cunningham

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