79ºF

FHP kicks off I-95 Challenge to help keep drivers safe

FHP: 20,000 crashes in 2013, many ending in serious injury or death

NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. – According to the Florida Highway Patrol, more than 20,000 crashes were reported in Duval County in 2013 with many of them occurring on Interstate 95 and ending in injury or even death.

In response to all of this vehicular mayhem, the FHP has decided to institute a new program designed to keep drivers safer on I-95.

FHP is calling it the I-95 Challenge and they're working with several other agencies to beef up patrol on one of our busiest roadways. With this campaign they're putting more focus on commercial vehicles and buses.

According to Sgt. Dylan Bryan of the Florida Highway Patrol, these patrols are designed to cut down on the factors that often lead to these crashes; distracted driving, improper driving ability and impairment.

"If we can reduce the number of distractions that we have control over - for example, texting while driving, cell phone use, eating and drinking, the number of crashes will reduce as well," Bryan said.

The local program will be implemented from Nassau County to Flagler County including increased patrols and traffic enforcement with assistance from surrounding law enforcement agencies, additional commercial vehicle enforcement units and assistance from the traffic aviation unit. This program is part of a widespread effort to prevent serious accidents along the entire 1,920-mile corridor of I-95.

FHP hopes this program will drastically cut down on all of the serious injuries and deaths that are too often associated with accidents on I-95.

"Notifying a loved one that one of their family members is either critically injured or even fatally killed in a traffic crash is one of the hardest things I've had to do," Bryan said.

According to FHP, the I-95 Challenge began Tuesday and runs through Sunday.