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Statewide initiative aims to reduce deadly crashes

Highway safety agencies launch 'Arrive Alive' campaign

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Florida Highway Patrol has launched the "Arrive Alive" campaign in an effort to reduce the number of deadly crashes on roadways. 

In Duval County, 124 deadly crashes were reported in 2015, and that number increased to 146 in 2016. The Highway Patrol is partnering with other law enforcement and traffic safety agencies to help reverse the alarming statistics. 

Troopers announced the revamped initiative at a press conference Wednesday morning in Jacksonville. 

"The number of traffic crashes continue to increase," said FHP Troop G Cmdr. Steven Harris. 

In the first month of 2017, there has been 500 wrecks involving people who were injured, including four fatal crashes, according to the FIRES website, which compiles traffic crash reports completed by Florida law enforcement agencies.

"It's a very stressful and heartfelt situation for everyone," Harris said. 

Starting Wednesday, drivers will notice an increase in patrols on the roadways. Authorities are using visibility, as well as a data driven approach, to help more drivers arrive alive. 

Using crash data, FHP will focus its efforts and resources on hot spots, which are areas more prone to serious wrecks. Duval County has six hot spots, including one targeting the Westside and includes a 6-mile stretch of Interstate 10 in Jacksonville, an area that's no stranger to deadly wrecks.

"To patrol these areas in 15-minute increments, the officers may conduct enforcement (or) simply write a citation," Harris said. 

St. Johns County will also see an increased law enforcement presence on one of the deadliest corridors in the state. The county also has six hot spots, most of which are along Interstate 95 between State Road 206 and the Duval County line.

"That particular stretch of roadway, people tend to get tired or distracted," said St. Johns County Sheriff's Deputy Mark Wilson. "Target enforcement is probably one of the best ways that we can do it."

Authorities want drivers to focus on driving. Even with all the data compiled, they can't pinpoint one main cause for the increase in crashes.

"There are impaired drivers. There are speeders. We don't have any identifiable trends," Harris said. 

The Highway Patrol is confident the new, aggressive approach will deter traffic violations and crashes and ultimately make the roads safer. 

Troopers also want to bring awareness to "Move Over" month, reminding drivers that it is the law to move over for stopped law enforcement, emergency and service vehicles.

Duval County is one of the top five in move over crashes. More than 200 were reported last year, which is a 50 percent increase from 2013.