The Florida Highway Patrol and other Central Florida law-enforcement agencies will have officers out in force between now and New Year’s Day, roving Central Florida looking for drivers who have partied too much. It’s part of the National Holiday Season Impaired Driving Enforcement Wave.
Some deputies will concentrate on problem areas such as South Orange Blossom Trail and Semoran Boulevard, where a lot of restaurants and bars are concentrated. Prime time for the patrols will be 8 p.m. until after 2 a.m.
The motto posted on the trailer housing the sheriff’s DUI testing equipment says it all: “If you drink, that’s your business. If you drink and drive, that’s our business.”
Law officers warn motorists to be especially careful in the days leading up to Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Holiday parties and stepped-up patrols have made December the month with the highest number of DUI arrests on average during the past 12 years, Orange County Sheriff’s Office statistics show.
Last December, there were 11 fatal crashes in Orange — eight of them alcohol-related. Seminole’s only fatal accident was related to alcohol, the Florida Highway Patrol said. Osceola had six fatalities, three of them related to alcohol. In Volusia, there were six fatalities, five related to alcohol.
“A lot of people don’t think they’re as impaired as they are,” said Sgt. Al Giardiello, evening traffic-unit supervisor for the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
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