PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — The Florida Highway Patrol is encouraging everyone to ‘Slow Down and Stay Cool’ ahead of the July 4th weekend.
Officials said troopers will be highly visible during the July 4th weekend to enforce aggressive driving, speeding, and driving impaired violations.
“We have more and more people on the roadway during the holidays and we all want to be able to enjoy the holidays safely,” said FHP Trooper, Darryl Sawyer. “So we’re out here enforcing the speed to ensure that everyone can enjoy it safely.”
Troopers said they’re noticing an alarming trend of drivers reaching extremely dangerous speeds across the state. They said tickets issued for drivers going 50 miles per hour or more over the speed limit reached an all time high of 238 last month.
According to FHP, speeding tickets issued in the state for going 50 mph or more over the speed limit have actually increased every year since 2012. In fact, the number of violations issued in 2020 represents a 267% increase over the number issued in 2012. From 2019 to 2020, these violations grew by 30 percent, which is the highest increase in any one year.
Sawyer said speeding can impact your decision making abilities while driving.
“You never know what’s going to be ahead of you and when you need to slow down and if you’re going that fast it’s really hard to make those judgement calls to slow down in time,” Sawyer said.
News 13 was able to ride along with Sawyer on Wednesday and witnessed him pulling over three people coming over the Hathaway Bridge reaching speeds of up to 70 miles-per-hour in a 45.
While speeding is dangerous, speeding tickets can be costly.
“They go up there,” Sawyer said. “The faster you go in increments it goes up higher and higher.”
FHP officials said obeying the speed limit not only significantly reduces the likelihood of a crash but can also reduce the severity if a crash occurs.