Quinten PlummerThe Valdosta Daily Times
LAKE PARK — North Florida and South Georgia law officers met along the state line Wednesday morning to kick off the 21st Annual Hands Across the Border campaign to avoid traffic fatalities during the Labor Day weekend.
“Our goal is to deter people from getting behind the wheel this holiday weekend after drinking or consuming drugs,” said the Florida Highway Patrol Maj. Gene Spaulding. “The Florida Highway Patrol is committed to working with our partners in Florida as well as a our partners in Georgia to enforce traffic codes and to enforce state laws.”
Meeting at the Interstate 75 state welcome centers in both Lake Park and Hamilton County, Fla., the event was one of several Hands Across the Border events held throughout the state this week. Georgia law enforcement and highway safety agencies partner with counterparts from neighboring states.
A series of sobriety check points were scheduled to follow the Hands Across the Border event each evening. The concentration of road blocks and the increased police presence will extend over the 78-hour Labor Day weekend, which Georgia State Patrol Lt. Ron Warren said will run from 6 p.m. Friday until midnight Labor Day.
“Last year, the Georgia State Patrol investigated 426 crashes over the Labor Day holiday period, which resulted in 313 injuries and four traffic deaths,” said Warren. “These numbers help to explain why we’re here today and why this is a major traffic event for law-enforcement agencies.”
The Hands Across the Border campaign runs concurrent with Operation Zero Tolerance and 100 Days of H.E.A.T., according to a press release from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety in Georgia.
“We will be in the state of Georgia as well as Florida, concentrating on our DUI arrests as well as seat belts or anything that will encourage safe driving,” said Lowndes County Sheriff Chris Prine.
More information on the traffic code enforcement in Georgia or for tips on how you can stay safe on the roadway: Visit the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety website at gahighwaysafety.org.