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Labor Day DUI crackdown already under way in FL

Labor Day is two weeks away, but law enforcement agencies throughout the state and South Florida are launching a crackdown on drunken and impaired drivers starting this weekend.

At least six Broward agencies, in addition to the Florida Highway Patrol, will be conducting DUI saturation patrols during the 18-day period that runs through Monday, Sept 6.

They join hundreds of other agencies throughout the country that will be doing the same under the annual National Labor Day Enforcement Crackdown.

“It’s the most traveled holiday and people like to do their barbecues and drink,” said Shaun Van Beber, a coordinator with the Florida Public Safety Institute. “We are not saying to go out and not have a good time, what we’re saying is go out, have a good time, but don’t get behind a wheel.”

Broward agencies joining the crackdown include police in Plantation, Hollywood, Hallandale, Wilton Manors and the Broward Sherriff’s Office. Each agency will have its own plan of where and when to be on the streets checking for drunk drivers. Almost all said they will be working the checkpoints throughout Labor Day weekend – essentially making the entire region a DUI checkpoint..

“It’s simple. The goal is to catch impaired drivers before they cause crashes,” said Plantation Police Sgt. Joe Gallignani.

In Miami-Dade County, police departments will be work together to create large-scale checkpoints such as one planned this weekend in the North Miami area.

Statewide, the Florida Highway Patrol is also taking part in an enhanced enforcement campaign called “Over the Limit, Under Arrest.” All FHP uniformed officers, including those assigned to administrative duties, will be out patrolling the interstates and other major state roads, said Sgt. Mark Wysocky.

According to FHP figures, 875 people were killed in Florida in alcohol-related crashes in 2009, including 29 who died during the three-day Labor Day weekend.

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