JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Highways traditionally become more unsafe around the holidays due to impaired drivers, and that means you'll likely notice more troopers with the Florida Highway Patrol are on the roads.
Trooper Christopher Karpinski says some drivers are so drunk after leaving holiday parties that they have no idea where they're going.
"It amazes me out here on the interstate that people are so intoxicated that they don't realize where they are and which direction they're traveling," he said.
Karpinski has only been on the force for three years but he's already seen a fair share of deadly DUI crashes during the holidays.
"I've seen head-on collisions. Completely crossing the lane of travel and hitting oncoming traffic," Karpinski said. "The victims were just traveling with their family for the holidays season."
According to data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, in 2016, 781 people in the U.S. were killed as a result of drunk driving around Christmastime. In 2017, that number rose to more than 880. This is why FHP is aggressively trying to get drunk drivers off the road.
During a ride along with Karpinski, a driver who crossed a yellow line several times while speeding was pulled over. He was not under the influence, just in a rush to get to work.
Troopers strongly urge drivers who've had too much to drink to call a cab or call a ride sharing service like Uber or Lyft.