for immediate release
May 25, 2001

N E W S   R E L E A S E

With this weekend beginning the busiest part of the year, the Traffic Safety and Enforcement Unit of the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office is hoping for a safe summer on Okaloosa County roads.

Deputies are always alert for violations that endanger public safety, including failure to use seat belts and child restraints, impaired driving, speeding, reckless or aggressive driving, and running red lights and stop signs.

The emphasis on traffic safety takes on special significance during the summer season, when the roads are often crowded and motorists may be become impatient.

Last year, 1,781 traffic crashes were reported in Okaloosa County, with 1,679 persons injured and 21 killed. Okaloosa County Sheriff Charlie Morris offers several suggestions to help reduce those numbers this year:

*-Allow extra travel time. Don't be in a rush.

*-Drivers who are distracted by telephones, stereo equipment, drinking or eating, combing hair, applying makeup or other activities are more likely to be involved in crashes.

*-Drivers and passengers are much safer when they are buckled in. Last year, 68-percent of the drivers and passengers killed in Florida were not wearing their seat belts.

*-Bicyclists must obey the same traffic laws as cars, including traveling on the right side of the road and stopping for red lights and stop signs.

*-Citizens who observe impaired drivers or other threats to public safety should contact the appropriate law enforcement agency without delay. Many cellular telephone users can reach the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office free of charge by dialing *SO or #OCSO.

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for more information contact Rick Hord, Public Information Officer

(850) 651-7420

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