FHP gears up for deadly driving days

Troopers focus on curbing distracted driving


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Less than a month after state lawmakers passed a ban on texting and driving, the Florida Highway Patrol is gearing up for a deadly summer focusing on distracted drivers.

There are more fatal accidents during the 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day than any other time of the year.

Through commercials, the National Transportation Safety Board and AT&T continue to step up "It Can Wait," a campaign against texting and driving. The people in the commercials talk about how texting while driving dramatically changed their lives.

"This is the unfinished text message our son was sending when he went off the road and died of a massive skull fracture," one parent in a commercial says.

This past legislative session, lawmakers approved Florida's first ever ban on texting and driving in the state.

"We're talking about an activity that is equivalent to drinking four beers very quickly," said Rep. Doug Holder.

The texting ban, if signed into law, will take effect Oct. 1. The bill has yet to be delivered to the governor's desk, but even without it, police have begun focusing more on distracted driving.

"It has deadly consequences. We have crashes everyday that are from distracted driving," said Capt. Nancy Rasmussen, of the Florida Highway Patrol.

In the most recent Florida statistics, more than 2,200 people died in car crashes. Officers are doing everything they can to curve those numbers. During the summer, more officers will be patrolling the roadways to keep an eye out for distracted drivers.

"Our numbers increase during this period of time just because we know the motorists are increasing," Rasmussen said. "The more people we have patrolling the roads, the better we'll be."

Drivers caught texting will face a $30 if the bill is signed.