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Just Drive Citrus!  

Just Drive. Two words.  Not hard to remember – or at least we hope they’re not hard for you to remember.  It’s no secret we’ve seen an uptick in our car crashes lately here in Citrus County.  So, what’s causing it?  Information collected from our statewide traffic analytics program clearly shows distracted driving and aggressive driving as the two main culprits.  In fact, crashes have been on the rise in 2017 and are up 5% from last year.  Sadly, we’ve seen 30% more fatalities than last year.         

So, here comes the part where I hope you’re listening and reading my words clearly.  This is your warning.  The warning will not come when one of my deputies pulls you over for speeding or weaving in and out of cars.  You better believe – there is a zero tolerance policy when it comes to doing anything but driving. 
Don’t text.
Don’t call.
Don’t email.
Don’t eat.
Don’t groom.
Don’t read.
Just drive Citrus.


Texting, talking, using a map – basically anything other than driving is dangerous because it takes your attention away from the road.  No text message or email is worth the risk of endangering your life or the lives of others on the road. 
The type of crash that has attributed to most of our accidents since January 1st of this year is rear end crashes.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the reason for this is drivers are looking down at their phone instead of looking up and paying attention to the person in front of them. I’ve tasked my team to get these numbers down. 

Our agency has launched a new traffic crash prevention campaign focusing on just driving.  We want to educate drivers and we want to save lives.  You’ll see our prevention and educational messages on several different media platforms.  CCSO will heavily use social media to promote the campaign and provide important safety information for motorists.  You can follow the campaign using the hashtag #JustDriveCitrus.  It’s our goal to reach every driver in Citrus County, and that includes snowbirds visiting our county right now.   Lighted message boards along local roads will also carry our “JustDriveCitrus” message.

Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting.  When traveling 55 mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of an entire football field blindfolded, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. 
Once you are driving, do not eat or drink, groom or apply makeup, text or email on your cell phone.  If you must make a call, use a hands-free device.  If something arises that needs your attention and you can’t take care of it after your trip, pull over to a safe location and deal with it.  Don’t take a chance of handling it while driving.  Keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. 

The holidays are upon us and we’ve got a million things going on.  I get it.  But you don’t want to look back on this season as the time when you had to fix your car because of an accident, or worse – say goodbye to a loved one.
Just Drive Citrus. 

Yours in Service -

Sheriff Mike Prendergast
 

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