A Summer Message from Sheriff Bob Gualtieri

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri

This year, PCSO School Resource Deputies partnered with several local organizations to kickstart the summer with a powerful, pertinent message: Don’t drive while distracted or impaired.

In 2014, Florida experienced more than 42,000 distracted driving crashes, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. These crashes resulted in more than 200 fatalities and 35,000 injuries.

To give students a first-hand look at the devastating consequences that could result if they drive while using their phones or while impaired by drugs or alcohol, four Pinellas County high schools put on mock traffic crashes. Members from several Sheriff’s Office units, first responders from Sunstar, various towing companies, Bayflite, and a funeral home depicted a realistic prom night scenario that we hope left a lasting impression on viewers.

Crashes related to impaired or distracted driving, like the one portrayed in this mock incident, are preventable.  For instance, cell phone apps that disable texting while the phone is in a moving vehicle are available for download. Explore this option, and discuss it and others with your teens.

Be mindful of with whom your children spend their time. Remind them that if they choose to drink alcohol, it is better to risk getting in trouble by calling you than to risk their lives getting behind the wheel. More than 10,000 people died in drunken-driving crashes in 2013, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A phone call could save their and others’ lives.

The safety of you and your family is our top priority at the Sheriff’s Office. We  are eager to talk to teens about safe driving, but the conversation needs to start at home. A serious discussion with your teen and consistent reminders about the conversation’s key points can help us in “Leading the Way For A Safer Pinellas.”

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