The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Unit was recently recognized for its ongoing efforts to reduce traffic-related injuries and fatalities on Hernando County roadways through a combination of education and enforcement.
The Traffic Unit was honored during a special awards ceremony on July 17 in Orlando where the unit was awarded Third-Place honors in Category 7 (151-250 deputies) in the Florida Law Enforce DUI Challenge. The HCSO Traffic Unit is currently comprised of 10 Traffic Deputies, a Traffic Public Service Technician and a Sergeant.
The HCSO’s award-winning effort featured the use of social media for DUI educational purposes, signboards with anti-drunk driving messages, along with a variety of special DUI enforcement events as well as continuous DUI enforcement.
The yearlong effort resulted in Hernando County decreasing its total number of DUI-related fatalities, as well as an overall reduction in all traffic fatalities, in 2014.
Sheriff Al Nienhuis said driving under the influence endangers everyone on the road.
“Even the best driver can become a victim when encountering an impaired driver,” the Sheriff said. “It is for this reason that my traffic unit makes finding and arresting impaired drivers a priority. We cannot accurately measure the lives they have saved, but Hernando County residents can rest assured that someone’s spouse or child is alive today because of the efforts of these dedicated law enforcement professionals.”
The 2015 Law Enforcement Challenge Awards were developed by the Florida Law Enforcement Liaison Program and are sponsored by the Florida Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The goal of the Florida Law Enforcement Liaison Program, which is grant funded, is to reduce traffic-related fatalities and injuries by working with law enforcement to boost safety belt use, reduce drunk driving and encourage traffic safety initiatives.
* 50 to 75 percent of drivers convicted of DUI continue to drive on a suspended license.
* The average drunk driver has driven impaired 80 times before their first arrest.
* Two out of every three people will be involved in a drunk-driving crash in their lifetime.
* Each day nearly 330,000 people drive drunk, but fewer than 4,000 drivers are arrested
* In 2013, 10,076 people died in drunk-driving crashes with another 290,000 people injured.