Strike force cracks down on drunk driving

Student drivers should be alert when driving on the weekends because the cops are cracking down.

The Florida A&M University Police Department, in cooperation with the police departments of Florida State University and Tallahassee, Leon County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Highway Patrol, has recently implemented the Leon County Multi-Agency Driving Under the Influence Strike Force.

FAMU PD said the goal of this initiative is to make sure drivers use the highway and campus road systems responsibly.

The roadside safety checkpoint, public education and enforcement activities are combined to achieve a reduction in deaths and injuries caused by impaired vehicle operators.

The checkpoints are in operation every Friday and Saturday night, and the times may vary.

Sgt. Derrick Folson, a member of the DUI Strike Force, said FAMU PD has hosted three sobriety checkpoints.

“Officers will be looking for impaired drivers when passing through the checkpoints and will take appropriate action when drivers are identified as impaired,” Folson said. “Safe and sober drivers will only experience a slight delay when passing through the checkpoints.”

While pulling drivers over, officers are instructed to state their name, inform the driver that they are conducting a sobriety DUI checkpoint test and ask the driver for their license.

If a driver has his or her license and does not appear to be impaired, he or she can pass through.

On Sept. 15, between the hours of 10:30 p.m. and midnight, FAMU PD organized a checkpoint on the 1600 block of Wahnish Way.

During the operation 223 cars were pulled over. Two drivers received DUIs, two drivers had warrants, one driver had drug paraphernalia in the vehicle and one driver was caught with a suspended license after receiving a DUI citation the week before.

Travis Combs, 21, a criminal justice student from Arcadia, said he thinks the checkpoints will be beneficial.

“I know drinking and smoking causes crime,” said Combs. “It will help keep our roads safe.”

The City of Tallahassee reported that seven of the 10 traffic fatalities in 2003 were alcohol related.

Universities in Tallahassee have each garnered significant attention because of the increases in underage drinking and DUI arrests.

Reports show traffic fatalities, including those where alcohol was involved, have been on the rise in Leon County since 2005.

According to, alcohol-related crashes are the leading cause of deaths for Americans between the ages 16 and 24. Five hundred people are killed each week in alcohol-related accidents. One American life is lost every 20 minutes because of alcohol-related auto crashes.

Despite the unfortunate statistics concerning deaths related to drinking and driving, FAMU PD, along with the other members of the strike force, is doing everything it can to lower these numbers.

For more information on the strike force, you can contact the FAMU PD at (850) 599-3256.