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Two-Week DUI Crackdown Begins on Flagler and Florida Roads as FHP and Sheriff Mobilize

| August 16, 2012

Scott Spence was arrested for drunk driving following a spectacular two-vehicle crash on Colbert Lane in Palm Coast last March. He pleaded no contest, and was sentenced to six months’ probation on June 20, and a $250 fine.
(© FlaglerLive)

The Florida Highway Patrol and the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office are participating in the national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign beginning Aug. 17 and stretching through the Labor Day weekend, which ends Sept. 3. Thousands of other law enforcement and highway safety agencies across the nation are involved in the annual effort.

There are no DUI checkpoints planned for Flagler County roads at this time, however, a Flagler County Sheriff’s spokeswoman said.

“Impaired driving is one of America’s most often committed and deadliest crimes,” said FHP Director Col. David Brierton. “In an effort to get drunk and drugged drivers off the roads, FHP troopers will aggressively look for impaired drivers during the crackdown.”

The legal blood-alcohol concentration limit in Florida is 0.08 percent. In other words, 0.08 percent of the blood has alcohol content. For a 190-pound man, it takes between three and four drinks to reach that blood-alcohol level. For a 120-pound woman, two to three drinks would do it. A standard drink is a 12-ounce beer, or a 5-ounce glass of wine, or a 1.5-ounce shot of hard liquor.

By the time a drinker hits the 0.08 percent limit, that driver’s concentration has already been compromised, reflexes have been impaired, as has depth perception, reasoning, peripheral vision, and the time it takes to recover from a flash of glare. A driver’s conditions are much worse beyond that limit, as reaction time and motor control are slowed, speech becomes slurred, the person staggers when upright, and, when the drinker has a blood-alcohol level of 0.2 percent or worse, black-outs can occur.

America’s 0.08 percent limit for drivers is actually among the most permissive in the world. Most European countries set the limit at 0.05 percent. Several are at 0.02 percent. And more than a dozen countries (not including nations such as Saudi Arabia, where drinking is outlawed outright, at least officially) have a zero-tolerance policy for drivers. Those include Brazil, Canada (for drivers 22 or 21 and under), the Czech Republic, Russia and Slovakia.

Impairment, in other words, is a relative term, with a 0.08 percent limit already crossing that line by medical measures. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found that, nationally, one fatal traffic crash occurs every 16 minutes. Across the United States, 161 DUI arrests are made every hour. The number of convictions is lower, however, as many drivers plead down to reckless driving or lesser charges. Nearly half of all alcohol impaired driving fatalities occur between 9 .m. and 3 p.m., according to the traffic safety administration numbers released by the sheriff’s office today.

“These statistics are alarming and it is the goal of every law enforcement agency to eliminate these dangerous drivers from the road,” Flagler County Sheriff Don Fleming said. “Anyone who is impaired and gets behind the wheel of a vehicle is acting irresponsibly and without concern for the lives and property of others. Those are the people we want to take off our streets.”

FHP offers tips to help you and your family arrive at your destination safely:

• Observe and obey all speed limits.
• Drive sober, and only sober.
• Have a designated driver.
• Buckle up.

The campaign coincides with the Labor Day holiday weekend, from Aug. 31 to Sept. 3. All uniformed FHP personnel, including those normally assigned to administrative duties, will patrol interstates and other major state roads during the four-day holiday. FHP Auxiliary troopers also will volunteer to augment the Patrol during the holiday travel period. The Patrol aims to increase its presence throughout Florida in an effort to deter traffic violations and to enhance services to motorists who break down while traveling or who need other assistance, the highway patrol said.

The NHTSA has developed a series of television ads to highlight the campaign. The ads are a little creepy: they show cops and cop cars materializing out of nowhere, as if dis-embedding themselves from walls or alleys as they notice drunks walk by, then following them in a cruiser and pulling them over as a sinister voice intones: “They’ll see you, before you see them. Cops are cracking down on drinking and driving. Drive sober, or get pulled over.” The idea is strong enough, though the appearance of all-seeing cops with eyes and ears literally morphing out of walls and dark alleys conveys a message more akin to police states than free societies. The producers have gone as far as doing a “behind the scenes” video and posting numerous images to illustrate the way the ads were shot. (See below.)

On the highways, FHP reminds drivers to dial *FHP (*347) from your cellphone to contact FHP to report an aggressive or impaired driver or to request roadside assistance.

For more information on the “Driver Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, visit the national traffic safety’s website.

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10 Responses for “Two-Week DUI Crackdown Begins on Flagler and Florida Roads as FHP and Sheriff Mobilize”

  1. downinthelab says:

    Drunks are less of a problem than everyone on the phone!

  2. livesinpalmcoast says:

    I am glad to see that FL is cracking down on those who drink and drive….now we just have to do something about people talking and texting behind the wheel.

  3. Billybob says:

    Thank you, FHP, for your astute driving tips. I’m going to print those out and tape them to my windshield.

    Additional Driving Tips:

    * Observe the speed limit doesn’t mean “automatically subtract 10mph”.

    * If you’re going to pull onto the road into the path of an oncoming car (even though there’s nobody behind them for 2 miles), at least attempt to push down on the gas pedal so that the car you pulled out in front of doesn’t have to slam on brakes, spilling their coffee and papers all over the floor.

    * Here’s a fun game: At any random time while you’re driving a passenger is going to ask you “what’s the speed limit right now?” If you don’t know or get it wrong 3 times, you have to stop and let the passenger drive. TIP: You should always know the speed limit, the name or number of the road you are on, and which direction (north, south, east, west) you are heading. These are extremely basic driving skills you should have learned when you were 16.

    * The left lane is for passing. Try using the right lane(s) for driving. If you pass, don’t forget to move back over into the right lane(s). Because the left lane is for passing. Drive in the other lane(s). HINT: Don’t drive in the passing lane. (The passing lane is the far left lane). Left lane=passing. Right lane(s)=driving. TIP: Only use the left lane to pass.

    * Did you know that due to the laws of physics, I can’t go any faster than the car in front of me? If they are going 30mph, I can’t go 31mph or I will run into them. So there’s no need to get 3 feet from my back bumper when there’s a car in front of me going slowly. I can’t go any faster. It’s not my fault. Give me some space, I’ll pass the slow car when it’s safe, then you can get 3 feet from their back bumper. TIP: They don’t even know you’re there.

    * If you see a man’s hat or an umbrella in the rear window deck, use extreme caution. (Now that I said it you are going to notice it ALL the time)

    * If you can’t see a head over the driver’s seat (when it looks like the car is driving itself), use extreme caution.

    I’m not going to explain the last one. :p

    • applesandoranges says:

      The left lane is not a “passing only” lane. You can drive in the left lane and not pass anyone. Just because you are in the left lane, it does not mean you are only there to pass someone.

  4. question says:

    Let me be the 1st to disagree.

    NO…DRUNK drivers are not ANY BETTER than the equally dangerous phone/texting driver.

    It’s thinking like that…even said out loud…that may, just may contribute to a city’s rising tragedies on the road. Pretty stunned…but glad we have one more clue.

  5. mellissa says:


    You made my day! Someone who follows the same rules I do,,,and has a sense of humor while explaining it,driving isn’t rocket science, you said it best my friend

  6. Billybob says:

    For applesandoranges who states (mistakenly): “The left lane is not a “passing only” lane.”


    2012 Florida Driver’s Handbook:
    Section 5.27 – Traffic Lanes
    “Always drive on the right side of a two-lane highway except when passing. If the road has four or more lanes with two-way traffic, drive in the right lanes except when overtaking and passing.”

    Full Handbook .pdf for download:

    The people that drive in the left lane are either ignorant or arrogant. Laws will have to be passed to educate them (via their wallets):

    “Florida Senator Michael S. Mike Bennett’s Senate Bill, 244 Relating to Motor Vehicles would set stiff penalties for driver’s failing to move over from the left lane.

    In essence, the proposed law prohibits a driver from continuing to operate a vehicle in the left lane of a multi-lane highway when the driver knows, or should reasonably know, he or she is being overtaken. The new proposed law adds the failure to yield to overtaking vehicles to the infractions considered acts of aggressive careless driving.”

    Full Text:

    Many other states already have “keep right except to pass” laws in place.

    People think “I can drive wherever and however I want, if they don’t like it let them go around me.” Legislation is aimed to help re-educate these people so that they realize they are actually guilty of aggressive careless driving by purposely illegally driving in the left lane.

    Spread the word! Help make Florida’s highways a better place to drive!

    • Nancy N. says:

      That’s a great theory but it doesn’t hold up very well in real practice when you’ve got drivers out on I-95 traveling in about a 30mph spread of speeds.

      And quite frankly, if I got a ticket for being in the left lane and failing to yield fast enough to the guy that comes screaming up behind me doing 90…well something is wrong with that situation because why did I get the ticket and not the guy doing 90? People in the left lane who are overtaking other drivers are almost always massively speeding. They should be the ones getting tickets! That law criminalizes the people who are driving in a sane manner and actually forces them to clear the road for the people who are breaking the law!

  7. Billybob says:

    The “driving in the left lane is illegal” point is wonderfully illustrated here for your viewing pleasure:

    (good part starts at 30 seconds)

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