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FHP Deploying 40 Troopers and 2 Planes on I-95 in Flagler and 3 Other Counties Friday

| July 5, 2012

What the Florida Highway Patrol would like drivers to avoid: a road fatality on I-95 in Flagler County last November. (© FlaglerLive)

If you have lousy driving tendencies, you may want to stay away from I-95 in Flagler County and the rest of the highway to the Georgia border Friday.

On a good day, the Florida Highway Patrol might have eight troopers patrolling four counties from Flagler to St. Johns, Duval and Nassau, along I-95. On Friday, the highway patrol will deploy 40 troopers on the northeast Florida stretch of the interstate, including Flagler, along with two fixed-wing aircrafts, for what it calls Operation Checkered Flag—a focused effort against aggressive, impaired and speeding drivers in which civilian drivers are also being asked to play a role.

Operation Checkered Flag will take place Friday between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on I-95 in Flagler and the three other counties.

The highway patrol is asking drivers in those four counties to dial *FHP (or *347) on their cell phone and report any sighting of drunk drivers or aggressive drivers, including those who follow too closely or weave in and out of lanes dangerously.

“Obviously just speeding, that’s not aggressive driving,” says Florida Highway Patrol Captain Keith Gaston. “If you’re driving in the center lane and seeing people coming up behind you, and they’re weaving in and out, left and right, trying to get ahead of somebody, that’s aggressive driving.”

There is a degree of subjectivity when reporting bad drivers. Following too closely, for example, is not a matter of distance so much as time needed between vehicles to make a safe stop. That’s a variable, depending on the size of vehicles in question. A small sports car may need no more than 10 car lengths to make a safe stop when traveling at highway speeds. A big rig would need much more than that.

Why give away the operation?

“My goal,” Gaston said, “is not to give somebody a ticket. My goal is to get somebody to drive and be safe,” and to get drivers to their destination without an accident. “And if you put this out on the media and help me to share with the people to be safe, you’ve done half my work for me.”

The highway patrol periodically stages operations of the sort to crack down on bad driving. Friday was chosen as a target date because of the combination of the races taking place at the Daytona International Speedway this weekend, and because of the Independence Day holiday week. That’s the only such operation taking place in Florida this weekend.

Deploying two planes will help better gauge speeders and aggressive drivers, Gaston said, by giving troopers a much wider field of vision and perspective, so that the driver going 80 isn’t stopped while the driver just behind him, going 90 and weaving all over the place, zips through.

Civilian drivers will be asked to help by signaling impaired or aggressive drivers to authorities in the following ways:

1. Noting the location of the vehicle and the direction the vehicle was traveling. For example, if you notice an aggressive driver near the Palm Coast Parkway exit traveling north, FHP would want to know that it was near mile marker 289 on I-95 northbound.

2. Noting as accurate a description of the vehicle as possible—its color, make, model, two-door or four-door.

3. A description of the driver, if possible: the driver’s sex, race, or other identifiers.

4. The vehicle’s license number and state, if it can be obtained safely.

The highway patrol stresses the safety measures drivers must themselves take when reporting another driver. Pursuing a driver is not acceptable, Gaston said. “Don’t even think about that,” he said. Drivers will be told as much when they call FHP. “We’re going to have enough people out there to try to identify that vehicle.”

Gaston said he’s not worried that civilian drivers will act like vigilantes. The highway patrol has always encouraged drivers to report unsafe driving behavior. The difference on July 6 is that there will be many more troopers on I-95 to respond to such reports.

Northeast Florida road fatalites from January through June 2012. Click on the image for larger view.

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15 Responses for “FHP Deploying 40 Troopers and 2 Planes on I-95 in Flagler and 3 Other Counties Friday”

  1. Gia says:

    hip hip houra!

  2. crazy ass drivers on 95
    thanks =]

  3. says:

    Jiminy Crickets,that’s a bunch of troopers. Sherriffs Office all having lunch in Hammock Dunes ;-)

  4. As a former Hwy. Patrol Officer I fully support any operation that targets aggressive drivers. I’ve witnessed the carnage and innocent victims resulting from aggressive and irresponsible drivers. FHP is on the highways to promote the safe flow of vehicle traffic and deserves our support!

  5. Sandra Reynolds says:

    I wish this was in force last week when I drove up from New Smyrna Beach. A big Cadillac came into my lane, forced me over, and continued speeding and weaving. I fell behind to avoid a crash as I watched him force others out of their lanes. I could not report him as he was too far ahead to get his tag number. He exited off at Palm Coast. Hopefully he did not cause any carnage in Palm Coast or further up I95.

  6. Cheryl Scott says:

    I wish they’d sit on the Palm Coast “on ramp” onto I95 and see how many stupid driver cross the solid white line trying to get onto the interstate faster than the car in front of them. I’ve been cut off so many times by idiots doing this I’ve lost count. You’re late for work – GET UP EARLIER.

  7. Billy Dickson says:

    Good job FHP and Captain Gaston! Only one question? Why aren’t other FHP districts conducting aggressive enforcement programs? Or, asking for media coverage if they are?

  8. NortonSmitty says:

    You Sheep really think this has anything to do with driving?

  9. I'm Not Saying...I'm Just Saying says:

    It’s fine to crack down on the speed demons and drunks…now can we do something about Granny Blue-Hair going 50mph down I-95?

    That’s equally as dangerous (maybe even moreso) than someone going 10-15 over the limit. You don’t want drivers to weave in and out of traffic? Enforce the MINIMUM speed limit as well, FHP. I shouldn’t have to feel like Ferdinand Alonso just to keep my cruise control at 75 MPH.

  10. palmcoaster says:
    The above shows the lack of traffic monitoring by our FCSO in this county…! If I hear all the time cars and bikes racing on the PC Parkway and adjacent streets, specially after dark how come the FCSO is not out in force stopping these agressive drivers? We need less chiefs and more indians fairly compensated, doing the real work and boy! we will reduce that budget!


      1) FSCO is and will always be on the look out for speedimg and agressive drivers. Check the quantity and types of tickets issued!
      2) The ratio of officers to deputies is in line to FDLE standards for a small to mid sised department.
      3) Sheriff has REDUCED, YES REDUCED his budget by $1,000,000

  11. Not Surprised says:

    Billy-there is no funding for FHP. It’s actually sad. The state has really let them down. They do the best they can, but sadly they are forgotten about. There is so many vacancies due to troopers leaving for county and city organizations. There is not enough troopers to cover the road ways. They are just now getting new cars, which are needed terribly. Rick Scott needs to get off his ass and start helping them. Sorry about the language, but if citizen know how “BAD” things are, they would be shocked.
    As always troopers-be careful!!

  12. Shocked says:

    It would be nice if they ( the police) were there for the actual times people drive crazy. The crazies start right after work and continue until 9:00 pm. Stopping at 6 is silly.

  13. Nancy N. says:

    They aren’t targeting the commuters. They’ll all be careful during the speed trap because it was all over the news. They are targeting all those people with out of state plates that are in town for the race. CHA-CHING!

  14. another voice says:

    Not Surprised, there is little funding left for much of anything. Rick Scott isn’t going to help anyone, either.

    Florida, you need to get off your complacent a**es and start being more responsible to your civic duties. Unless Scott outright stole the election, there is no way he should have EVER been elected. People didn’t turn out except the idiots who think we don’t need a government at all.

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