PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — The Bay County Sheriff’s Office is increasing their presence along the Highway 388 corridor.
Since the start of April 2021, BCSO deputies have conducted more than 200 traffic stops along HWY 388 and at the intersection of 388 and HWY 79.
“We’ve written warning citations, we’ve written criminal citations,” said Captain David Baldwin. “With the increase in traffic, with it being a two lane road, we’ve seen additional traffic accidents, speeding, aggressive driving, and unfortunately in the last few years we’ve had several fatalities.”
Since September 2020, eight people have died in car accidents along the HWY 388 corridor.
As a main passthrough road from one end of Bay County to the other as well as the main road to the airport, Baldwin said it’s a frequent place for speeding and aggressive driving and passing. He said construction has added an extra hazard to the roadway, which is already one of the more dangerous highways in the area.
“It’s a major thoroughfare,” he said. “The tourists use it, the citizens of Bay County use it to get to and from the beach. With that, it’s 60 miles an hour on a two lane road and we have people that are impatient and we have people that will disregard the speed limit on that road.”
With residents expressing their concern to the Sheriff’s Office, more patrol has been added to the area.
“Sheriff Ford is very aggressive when it comes to the violation of traffic speeds, especially on 3-88,” Capt. Baldwin said. “That’s why we’re focusing on it now.”
He said the intersections at highways 77 and 79 are also problem areas they’re monitoring, but they’re ready to increase presence wherever residents feel it’s necessary.
In the meantime, Captain Baldwin said the most important thing drivers can do is to obey the speed limit, especially on winding roads with blind curves like on 388.
“There’s no reason to make yourself late to where you have to speed to get to the airport or to get to where you’re going,” he said. “Leave sooner or leave with time to get where you need to get to but it has been a problem on 388 and we will enforce it, the speed limit.”