Florida Highway Patrol targets aggressive driving


“Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks”
“Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks”

In an effort to reduce commercial motor vehicle related crashes, injuries and fatalities by combining outreach, education and evaluation with targeted enforcement activities to raise awareness among car and truck drivers about safe driving behaviors, the Florida Highway Patrol has kicked off their “Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks” or “TACT” campaign, according to FHP Public Affairs Officer Sgt. Mark Wysocky on Monday.

Especially when it involves large trucks, the “Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks” imitative is meant to encourage safe driving on interstates and highways throughout Florida. The campaign runs through the end of July.

“The Florida Highway Patrol will be looking for car and truck drivers who display aggressive behavior, such as following too closely, speeding and unsafe lane changes,” Sgt. Wysocky told Examiner.   “When drivers follow too closely, they typically fail to recognize a trucker’s blind spots.  Drivers can possibly avoid causing a serious accident by recognizing and respecting them.”

In fatal crashes involving large trucks, 88 percent of the time the accident is attributable to driver error by both car and truck drivers.  Only 12 percent of the crashes are the result of vehicle defects, road conditions or inclement weather.

“Most crashes involving trucks involve driver error by both the car and truck driver,” stated Deputy Director Lt. Col. Kelly Hildreth in a prepared release.  “We can reduce crashes if we all share the roadways and avoid aggressive driving behaviors and practice patience around big trucks.”

In addition to targeted enforcement, the TACT campaign uses billboard and radio messaging to increase awareness among car and truck drivers of safe driving behaviors and of the heightened risk of receiving a ticket for a violation.

The Florida Highway Patrol has offered the following tips for safe driving:

· Stay out of the No Zone – watch for the huge blind spots (No Zones) around large trucks.

· Pass trucks with caution – pass on the left side for maximum visibility and maintain a constant speed.

· Do not cut trucks off – large trucks cannot stop as quickly as cars.

· Practice patience and try to be predictable – avoid making erratic moves if a truck is not moving as fast as you want them to.

For more information about “Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks” campaign or the Florida Highway Patrol’s Commercial Motor Vehicle Enforcement program, please visit www.flhsmv.gov/fhp.

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As a nationally recognized credit repair and identity theft expert, Bill Lewis is principal of William E. Lewis Jr. & Associates, a solutions based professional consulting firm specializing in the discriminating individual, business or governmental entity.

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Florida Highway Patrol: ‘Move Over’ or face stiff consequences


Florida Highway Patrol

A routine traffic stop can be anything but routine for emergency responders.  Since 1999, more than 200 law enforcement officers in the United States have died and thousands have been injured as a result of being on the side of the road doing their job and being hit by an oncoming vehicle, according to Colonel David Brierton of the Florida Highway Patrol on Tuesday.

During the month of January, FHP troopers and law enforcement officers throughout the state will increase their focus on making drivers aware of the state’s “Move Over” law. The law protects law enforcement officers, emergency workers and tow truck drivers who are stopped along Florida roadways in the performance of their duties.

“Florida’s Move Over law was enacted in 2002 to safeguard Florida’s emergency responders who are on the roadways working to protect you and your families,” stated Col. David Brierton, director of the Florida Highway Patrol, in a prepared release. “Abide by the ‘Move Over’ law and help us protect our emergency personnel and their families.”

Understanding Move Over:

·         Drivers must move over when a patrol car, emergency vehicle and/or tow truck is stopped on the side of a road with lights flashing.

·         If they cannot move over safely, drivers should slow down to a speed of 20 mph below the posted speed limit.

·         Always approach the emergency vehicle with caution.

Violating “Move Over” laws puts motorists and emergency responders at risk. In Florida, it can also result in a heavy fine and points on your driver license record.

Learn more about Florida’s “Move Over” law at http://www.flhsmv.gov/SafetyTips/MoveOverTips.htm.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles provides highway safety and security through excellence in service, education and enforcement. The Department has lead the way to a safer Florida through the efficient and professional execution of its core mission: the issuance of driver licenses, vehicle tags and titles and operation of the Florida Highway Patrol.

To learn more about DHSMV and the services offered, visit www.flhsmv.gov, follow them on Instagram at FLHSMV, Twitter @FLHSMV or “Like” them on Facebook.

______________________

Bill Lewis is principal of William E. Lewis Jr. & Associates, a solutions based professional consulting specializing in the discriminating individual, business or governmental entity.

For daily updates on The Credit Report with Bill Lewis, you can join Bill’s 11,500 plus fans on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/thecreditreportwithbilllewis.

Flashing in public no longer illegal in Florida


erich.campbell

Starting Tuesday, flashing your headlights to alert oncoming traffic that police are lying in wait along the roadside will no longer be against the law in the state of Florida.

The provision legalizing such speed trap warnings is part of a statewide change in motor vehicle laws.

An attorney who represented cited motorists believes, though, that the revised traffic code contains loopholes that would still allow police to ticket flashing drivers.

“The action of the Legislature in our belief fell short,” Oviedo attorney J. Marcus Jones told the Associated Press.

Passed by the legislature last March, the new law amended one section of Florida’s existing traffic code but – according to Jones – police may still use other provisions to cite blinking motorists.

Those provisions include prohibitions against using high beams within 500 feet of an oncoming vehicle or within 300 feet of a vehicle ahead.  The newly stated exception for flashing headlights does not apply to those sections of the traffic code.

After being sued by motorist Erich Campbell, the Florida Highway Patrol ordered state troopers to stop issuing citations to flashing drivers.

Campbell, a student attending St. Petersburg College was cited for violating an existing law that says “flashing lights are prohibited on vehicles” except for turn signals.

The lawsuit alleges that the Florida Highway Patrol misinterpreted that particular provision of the state traffic code as it was meant only to ban motorists from having strobes lights that resemble those on official emergency vehicles.

To clear up any ambiguity, the new law specifically amends Florida’s traffic code to allow motorists to flash their headlights at an oncoming vehicle regardless of intent.

A Pinellas County judge dismissed Campbell’s $115 ticket, but his lawsuit against the FHP is facing dismissal in Tallahassee.

Representing Campbell before Circuit Court Judge Kevin Carroll, Jones has requested reconsideration because of the alleged inconsistencies remaining in Florida’s traffic code.

If successful in seeking reconsideration, Jones intends on seeking class-action status in an effort to obtain refunds for the estimated 2,400 drivers who were convicted and paid fines between 2005 and 2010 for flashing their high-beam lights.

Florida Highway Patrol Car Covered in Crap


Police are investigating the case of a vandalized Florida Highway Patrol trooper’s car that was found covered in human feces.  They are trying to determine whether the incident is related to a recent controversy in which a City of Miami police officer was arrested by the FHP for reckless driving.

According to Florida Highway Patrol union chief William Smith, Trooper Joe Sanchez – a former Miami City Commissioner, Mayoral candidate, and current FHP spokesman – found feces spread on his patrol car Sunday morning.   

Smith told WPLG channel 10, it appeared “like it might have come out of one of the Port-O-Potties you see around at construction sites.” 

Smith reports it is unclear who vandalized the police cruiser while parked at the trooper’s home. The recent controversy over a traffic stop involving an FHP trooper and a Miami police officer accused of driving 120 mph on Florida’s Turnpike has some questioning whether the vandalism is related. 

“Some people go ‘Oh, it’s got to be the city of Miami.’ No, it doesn’t. It could have been a disgruntled neighbor for all we know. It could have been anybody,” said Smith. “It could have been a cousin of a cousin who has a friend who is in law enforcement and he felt like he needed to show his displeasure with what happened last month.” 

“It happened. Someone threw feces on the car,” said FHP spokesman Sgt. Mark Wysocky.

According to an FHP offense report, someone dumped about five gallons of human excrement – possibly from port-o-potties – onto Sanchez’s marked FHP car while parked at home in his driveway. Pictures released by the Florida Highway Patrol show the waste on the driver’s side window and windshield.

The report said the incident occurred Sunday sometime between 6:45 a.m., when Sanchez left his home, and 10:15 a.m., when he reported it to police.

“We have no suspects and no witnesses,” said Wysocky. “It’s basically done.”

During last month’s incident, FHP Trooper D.J. Watts pursued and pulled over Miami Police Officer Fausto Lopez at gunpoint in a patrol car after she said he weaved in and out of traffic on the Florida Turnpike at speeds of up to 120 mph.  At the time, Lopez was on his way to an off-duty job. 

No one affiliated with the Florida Highway Patrol has accused anyone involved with the Miami Police Department of involvement in the vandalism. While it may have been an act of retaliation, FHP representatives said they do not believe it came from a Miami police officer. 

Miami Police Officer Arrested by FHP Trooper – the Full Dash Cam Video


In a tell-all crime drama that has gone viral worldwide, a Florida Highway Patrol Trooper – identified by numerous sources as Donna “D.J.” Watts – chases and stops an allegedly reckless Miami Police Officer on the Florida Turnpike near Hollywood Boulevard in Broward County in his marked patrol unit.

First reported on LeoAffairs,  the dash cam footage shows Trooper Watts chasing Miami Police Officer Fausto López, 35, after he repeatedly ignored her warnings to stop while allegedly driving speeds of up to 120 mph.

The incident took place on October 11, 2011.

In the Florida Highway Patrol video, the marked Miami Police car, allegedly driven by Lopez, is seen weaving in and out of traffic at high rates of speed as Trooper Watts gives chase with lights and sirens blaring.

It takes nearly seven minutes before the car pulls into the median and stops. That’s when Trooper Watts comes out with her gun drawn and barking orders at Lopez.

“Put your hands out that window right now! Put your hands out the window! I’m serious,” Watts yells. “Get out, get out of the vehicle! Turn around, turn around, right now!”

Trooper Watts pushes Officer Lopez up against his marked police car and handcuffs him behind his back.

Lopez begins pleading with Tropper Watts.

“Ma’am, I apologize, I was on my way to an off-duty…I’m late for work,” says Lopez, who is still wearing his uniform. “I didn’t know you were stopping me, officer.”

“What? You’re over 120 miles per hour!” Watts replies.

“I never saw you,” Lopez says.

“How do you not see a car with blue lights in the dark?” Watts asks.

“Ma’am, with all due respect, I don’t…” Lopez begins.

“You don’t respect me sir, you don’t respect these people out here,” Trooper Watts says.

Lopez tries to explain that he was on his way to an off-duty job at a Coconut Grove school.

“It’s a private school but there’s some high-end people there. I had to get there by 7 o’clock and I didn’t think I was gonna make it,” he says.

At one point, Lopez begins to complain about the handcuffs around his wrists.

“Honestly, the handcuffs are not necessary ma’am, I’m very cooperative,” Lopez insists.

“You know what, to me, you are a criminal,” Trooper Watts replies. “You scared me to crap. I thought that police car was stolen.”

“I’m a police officer, I would never handcuff you, never, another police officer,” Lopez says.

“You would never catch me doing this, trust me on that one,” Watts replies.

Watts then seems to imply that other Miami cops also speed through the area.

“This is not a first time occurrence with y’all. Y’all come from that way all the time, this Miami police car and we never catch it,” she says. “It’s not excusable, there’s no job, no off-duty job, nothing that important.”

Lopez was criminally charged with reckless driving, a second degree misdemeanor, and released. The FHP is still investigating.

Miami police told the Miami Herald that they are investigating the case.

“We learned of the incident the day it happened and immediately sent our internal affairs officers to contact the Florida Highway Patrol,” said Manuel Orosa, acting Miami police chief. “We are investigating administratively.”

Attached is the full 49 minute video of the traffic stop by Trooper Watts of the Florida Highway Patrol.