Highway patrol warns "zero tolerance" for holidays

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Highway Patrol issued its warning today: Officers will have zero tolerance for drivers under the influence.

In 2008, 1,169 people died in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes in Florida -- 39 percent of all traffic crash fatalities in the state, FHP noted in the release. As part of the state’s focus on safe highway travel during the holiday season, the FHP is joining thousands of other law enforcement and highway safety agencies across the nation in "Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest." The nationwide campaign aims to crack down on impaired driving, beginning Wednesday through Jan. 3, 2010.

The FHP will practice zero tolerance enforcement strategies to target impaired drivers, as well as those violating other traffic laws that put themselves and other motorists at risk.

“We will be out in full force conducting sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols to remove drunk drivers from the roads, ultimately saving lives that might otherwise be lost,” said Col. John Czernis, FHP director. “If a trooper catches you drinking and driving, he/she will arrest you. Violators often face jail time, the loss of their driver license, higher insurance rates, attorney fees, time away from work and dozens of other expenses. So do not take the chance. Remember, if you are over the limit, you are under arrest.”

Motorists should contact FHP or local law enforcement officials to report an impaired, aggressive or dangerous driver by dialing *FHP (*347) from a cell phone. Callers may remain anonymous. Motorists who experience car trouble on the highway or otherwise need assistance from the FHP are also encouraged to call *FHP.

The "Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest." is organized by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. For more information on the campaign, visit