BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB)– The Florida Highway Patrol has launched a new state-wide initiative to prevent deaths and encourage safety on the roads. It’s called ‘Put it down. Focus on driving’….
Preliminary data in 2020 shows there were more than 48,000 distracted driving crashes in Florida, 75% of which were caused by the driver being inattentive behind the wheel. These crashes resulted in nearly 300 fatalities and more than 2,700 serious bodily injuries.
Now Florida Highway Patrol Troop A is taking matters into their own hands, looking to catch more people in the act. News 13 rode along with Florida Highway Patrol, in an unmarked vehicle as they took on the streets of Bay County.
“They think they are in regular traffic they have no idea what’s beside them,” said Trooper David “Shack” Cox.
Cox hit the road in a different kind of ride, trying to blend in. He said with more taking on the roads during the Spring season, there’s an increased risk for traffic crashes and fatalities.
“With the high flow of traffic coming into Bay county during Spring Break there is quite a bit of aggressive driving,” Cox said.
And it’s amazing what you find when you think someone is not looking. Our first catch, speeding on Highway 231 southbound.
Cox cited a car for going 20 over the limit, 85 mph in a 65 mph zone. The fine totaled 280 dollars.
“They are definitely spring breakers,” Cox said.
We continued on to find a driver going over the speed limit passing us, cars getting out of its way.
And in less than an hour, our third offense, texting and driving.
Cox decide to pull up right beside him, catching him in the act, and again another citation.
Cox said knows he can’t ticket all those on the road who commit offenses, but he leaves all drivers with this message.
“Obey the law no matter who’s around you, it saves lives,” he said.