News Cast 11/22


November 22, 2023

News Cast for November 22nd:

Trying to be safer this year

AAA expects 55 million Americans to travel this Thanksgiving and nearly 90 percent will be driving.

The Florida Highway Patrol said there were 7,500 crashes and 68 fatalities in Florida last Thanksgiving.

Lt. Indiana Miranda said we can do better this year.

“We want to reduce fatalities to zero.  We also want to reduce serious bodily injury.  We also get a lot of injuries during the holidays.  A lot of the crashes we have are impaired drivers.”

A recent report found 28 percent of fatal crashes in the US around the holidays involve impaired drivers.

The patrol is seeing more people driving impaired due to pills and illegal narcotics.

They are also seeing more pedestrians and bicyclists struck.

Lt. Miranda said walkers and runners need to have reflective clothing and try and stay in lighted areas.

“Bicyclists and people walking on the side of the road are a concern.  Many small towns don’t have pedestrian walkways and traffic lights.  When you are crossing the road make sure you are crossing in a safe manner.  You see no oncoming traffic.  You don’t know how fast a car is traveling, if it is going 70 to 80 miles per hour it will reach you pretty quick.”

Lt. Greg Bueno said the traffic is worse on Wednesday night and Sunday afternoon.

He said drivers need to do just basic safety stuff to be safer if we want to reduce fatalities.

“Those deaths are 100 percent preventable.  Each driver can slow down, increase their following distance, putting their phones down, abiding by the speed limit, being well rested, and driving sober.”

David Hazellief was chosen by his fellow commissioners to remain as chairman for the coming year.

Brad Goodbread was elected first vice chair and Frank DeCarlo as second vice chair.

Bradley Smith was sworn in as the new member on the Moore Haven city council.  City charter allows the council to vote after receiving applications for the opening.  They considered several applicants and ranked each one.  Smith had the best scores.

Jan Gunn resigned the seat at the end of October.

The state legislative session will focus on health care and insurance.

That’s the prediction from local house representative Kaylee Tuck.

She was selected by the house speaker to a select committee on insurance by House Speaker Paul Renner.

Tuck said she will also push for more funding to construct the new Okeechobee High School and Moore Haven elementary school.  The OHS project now estimated to cost $110 million and the Moore Haven project $53 million.