The next time you are planning on a night out, make sure you get your designated driver lined up. Florida Highway Patrol’s Troop K was in full force in Tampa Bay Friday Sept. 25th as they conducted another DUI Wolf Pack operation. FHP officers focused their efforts on Hillsborough, Hernando, Pasco, and Polk counties.
The patrol began at around 10 p.m. on Friday and ended Saturday morning at around 3. FHP’s Troop K, commonly known as the “Turnpike Troop” essentially has jurisdiction over the toll roads in the Tampa Bay area, and last night focused on 3 of them: the Veterans Express and the Suncoast Parkway (Florida State Road 589), and the Polk Parkway (State Road 570). Past wolf pack patrols have resulted in numerous DUI arrests in Tampa Bay. To learn what additional DUI patrols are taking place in Tampa Bay this weekend, continue reading to the end.
Follow FHP Advice to Avoid DUI Trouble
Sergeant Gaskins of the Florida Highway Patrol offers the following tips to steer clear of drunk driving related problems when you are out at night:
Tip #1: Do not ride with other impaired drivers.
Tip #2: Do not let friends and family drive drunk. Remove access to keys and car, if necessary.
Tip #3: Plan your partying in advance. That means before you drink. Program your favorite cab number into your phone. Choose your designated driver.
Tip #4: Last but not least – make sure your designated driver is not drinking at all, not just the one who is drinking the least.
Sergeant Gaskins asks motorists who encounter impaired drivers on the roads to dial *FHP from their cellphones in order to keep drivers safe.
DUI Arrests from Recent Holiday Wolf Pack Patrols
Tampa Bay area law enforcement agencies have participated in DUI Wolf Pack Patrols during several recent holidays, all of which are historically known for a high incidence of drunk driving related accidents.
15 DUI Wolf Pack Arrests on Memorial Day
An indication of the effectiveness of local Wolf Pack patrols is the following tally from a Pinellas County operation this past Memorial Day: law enforcement officers made 15 arrests for driving under the influence and one for DUI manslaughter. That particular holiday patrol was a cooperative effort between the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and police in Gulfport, St. Petersburg, Largo and Tarpon Springs.
12 DUI Wolf Pack Arrests on 4th of July Holiday
In another holiday operation in nearby Pinellas County over the 4th of July weekend, at least 12 DUI arrests were made. In total, there were 33 criminal charges and over 100 citations. The DUI Wolf Pack was a joint effort between the Florida Highway Patrol, Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Pinellas Park Police Department, Tarpon Springs Police Department, Largo Police Department, St. Petersburg Police Department, and the Clearwater Police Department.
19 DUI Wolf Pack Arrests on Labor Day Weekend
Tampa Bay area agencies also cooperated in a Labor Day Weekend joint DUI Wolf Pack. The group was made up of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Highway Patrol, Tarpon Springs Police Department, Clearwater Police Department, Largo Police Department, Belleair Police Department, Gulfport Police Department, St. Petersburg Police Department, and G4S Prisoner Transportation. The operated resulted in 19 DUI arrests, with a total of 40 criminal charges, and 68 citations. These included an arrest for Second Refusal to Submit to Breath Test, and over 20 Driving while License Suspended arrests.
The Goal of DUI Wolf Pack Patrols
According to DUI Wolf Pack press releases on the PCSO website, “the goal of the Wolf Pack is to educate citizens and create public awareness about the dangers of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and any chemical or controlled substances.”
The heightened DUI patrols also serve to stem the rise in wrong way accidents in Tampa that many law enforcement officials and recent studies have connected to drivers who are under the influence.
HCSO DUI Enforcement in Tampa Bay This Weekend
Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office has its own DUI task force which will also be in force this weekend. HCSO regularly publishes their DUI initiatives as part of Operation 3D, “a public awareness plan that is designed to enhance the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office ability to deal with problems commonly associated with motorists who drink and drive.”
Friday from 6 p.m. to midnight, they performed compliance checks in Southern Hillsborough County, and from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. they had a heightened patrol in eastern Hillsborough County. Saturday night,
Sep. 26th, HCSO will have another heightened patrol from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m., this time in Northern Hillsborough County.
Your best bet is to use common sense, take FHP Sergeant Gaskins’ advice and plan before you party! See our earlier post on Tampa designated driver options if you need some ideas, including the cool Zingo service that gets you AND your car home safely.