Florida Highway Patrol Steps Up Patrol on Deadly Highway

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Some of the people living near one of the area's deadliest highways want to see more law enforcement officers on the road. This comes after the second weekend of deaths on Highway 77.

It was impatience, carelessness and aggressiveness. Florida Highway Patrol officials say five people had to lose their lives because of these three things.

Three separate accidents on Highway 77, including one on Easter Sunday just north of Southport, have taken the lives of five people on that road alone. All of those deaths could have been prevented according to law enforcement officials. Now, the Florida Highway Patrol plans to step up patrol on Highway 77 and the Bay County Sheriff's Office has been issuing more traffic violations in that area.

Both agencies also point out that drivers must take action as well to prevent fatal accidents.

"Visibility of law enforcement does have a deterring effect. We'll be out in force not only enforcing speeding, but DUI, reckless driving, following too closely. Passing has been an issue in these crashes. We're going to look for everything," says Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Joe Tucker.

"What we could ask is that people work with us and not get mad. They need to leave home early and obey the traffic laws," says Sheriff Frank McKeithen.

Last Friday, the Florida Highway Patrol implemented its overtime program, which motivates troopers to do additional patrol hours out on the road by paying them overtime.

The Florida Highway Patrol has already stepped up patrol with three additional troopers, which means on a typical day there could be eight FHP officers patrolling Highway 77.