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Officials stress safety on the roadways

By Staff | Dec 24, 2014

In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, local law enforcement agencies want to remind the public to slow down on the roads, obey all traffic laws and plan ahead for a night of revelry.

“The holidays can be stressful. People have a number of things on their to do list,” Capt. Mike Torregrossa, of the Cape Coral Police Department, said Wednesday. “There’s going to be considerably more traffic on the roadways, so it’s incumbent for people to realize that safety if paramount.”

Drivers are urged to take their time and be patient in getting from one place to another.

“Take a breath,” he said. “Arrive alive.”

The CCPD typically sees a spike in minor to moderate types of crashes during the holiday season.

“People trying to multitask while on the roadway,” Torregrossa said.

Distracted driving, due to multitasking or texting, can easily result in a crash.

“And it’s going to run contrary to what they were trying to accomplish,” he said, referring to getting somewhere quickly and without trouble. “Pay attention to what you’re doing on the road.”

Texting on a cell phone while driving is illegal in the state of Florida.

“Texting can wait,” Torregrossa said.

Officials also suggest that people map out where they need to go or what they need to do before getting behind the wheel. Planning ahead can help prevent a person from becoming flustered.

“Take an extra few seconds and come up with a plan of what needs to get done,” he said.

The holiday season is also a prime time for predators and thieves.

“Secure your doors to your cars. Don’t leave anything in clear view,” Torregrossa said.

“A common sense approach can make it a more enjoyable holiday season,” he said.

For those with New Year’s celebrations on their schedule, do not drive impaired.

“Again, it comes back to proper planning,” Torregrossa said.

Party-goers should have a plan for a designated driver or the phone number of taxi company.

“Just properly plan and you can have a very enjoyable holiday season,” he said.

The AAA Auto Club Group is offering its Tow to Go program from now until 6 a.m. Jan. 1.

“It’s open to members and non-members,” Matt Nasworthy, AAA spokesperson, said.

Impaired drivers can call (855) 2-TOW-2-GO (286-9246) for a ride home.

“We will come out, pick up their vehicle and take them home, free of charge,” he said.

The final destination must be within 10 miles of the pick-up location.

“We limit it to 10 miles because, obviously, we need our service trucks available to help others and handle our emergency service requests,” Nasworthy said.

Operating since 1998, Tow to Go has removed over 23,000 impaired drivers from the roadways.

“It’s been popular because we operate around the holidays,” he said. “Around the holidays, people do a lot of celebrating, so they could be away from home and drinking.”

AAA recommends that people plan ahead though with a designated driver or taxi, or by arranging to stay overnight at the location where they are celebrating. Their program should be a last resort.

“Tow to Go is kind of that safety net,” Nasworthy said.

In the coming days, the Cape Coral Police Department will have a presence in the city.

“People should be aware they will see more traffic and patrol units out,” Torregrossa said. “There will be roving and saturation patrols intermittently.”