No one can argue that traffic within Okeechobee County is growing.

Expansion of homes within the coastal areas, vacationing in Florida is at an all-time high, and many factors play into this.

We must remember Okeechobee is a connection and travel thoroughfare in all directions for commerce. Adding to the issue is our roadway infrastructure has remained relatively unchanged or expanded upon by D.O.T.

Traffic enforcement is an essential issue that Sheriff Noel E. Stephen recognizes and is reacting to as one of the significant needs within our county.

You will see a traffic stop during a regular uniformed patrol deputies shift, when not answering a call for service, or even our Traffic Unit out targeting specific areas of concern.

However, a grant has been established to combat the traffic issue for several deputies, twice daily and at random times and locations, strictly targeting aggressive, dangerous, or other actions violating Florida Traffic Laws.

For instance, from May 1, 2023, to August 1, 2023, the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office conducted Two-thousand six-hundred ninety (2,690) traffic stops.

Of those traffic stops, Five-hundred and Eighty-three (583) resulted in a traffic citation, with another Thirteen hundred and three (1303) resulting in verbal or written warnings.

A check with Florida Highway Patrol shows during the same duration; they issued One hundred and fourteen (114) additional citations within our county.

As a reminder, “See Something, Say Something” works for traffic issues also. We encourage you to call in your complaints about reckless and dangerous driving habits.

Refrain from confronting other drivers. Instead, be a great witness by giving all the information you can about the infraction, make, model, vehicle color, and travel direction to our communications center.

If you want to contact us after the stop or should the deputy need a witness, offer your information or request a call back from that deputy sheriff. Call 863-763-3117 for their non emergency line.

Sheriff Stephen said it best recently, “We have an excellent working history with our community, and with your help, we will continue keeping our roadways safe through education and enforcement.”

We emphasize that during this time of year, special attention is placed on school zones, bus drop-off, and pick-up locations as public and private schools are back in session all over Okeechobee County. Fines are elevated (often doubled or higher) for such offenses in a school zone or involving a bus pick-up and drop-off when the lights and arm are engaged