SWFL law enforcement increases patrols for ‘Saturation Saturday’

Reporter: Morgan Rynor Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:

A nationwide effort will go into full effect this weekend to ensure our roadways are free of drivers under the influence of alcohol and other substances. And this effort is going to be in full force along local streets as well.

Florida Highway Patrol is among more than 14 law enforcement agencies in Southwest Florida that will be acting to get drunk drivers off the street Saturday night.

The effort known as “Saturation Saturday” was spearheaded in 2016 by the Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) chapter in Missouri.

“Uber or Lyft, whatever that is,” said mother Julie Morello, who educates her children on dangers of drinking and driving. “Or call someone that hasn’t been out drinking.”

Over 260 agencies nationwide will help increase awareness of the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

“Because we know that impaired drivers can really cause a lot of tragedy,” Lori Burke said. “Not only to themselves but to others who are on the road.”

The campaign comes a week before Labor Day when law enforcement agencies say there is a large increase in impaired drivers on roads. It coincides with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, which runs from August 14 through September 2.

FHP told us it will have eight state troopers assigned to a task force for the effort this weekend.

In Charlotte County, the sheriff’s office will be sharing activity throughout the operation night. Anyone can watch via the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page and Instagram by viewing stories on both pages.

“I think that’s a good thing,” Morello, who said she is thrilled about the campaign. “I mean if you got nothing to hide, you shouldn’t be worried about it.

Morello said the effort is worthwhile for communities.

“Any education on that is good, especially for the young people,” Morello said.

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