Trooper Annie White remembers the first time she had to tell a family that a loved one was killed during the holidays.
"It was a young person killed by a drunk driver and I think that’s always stuck in my mind because it was their only child."
White says she absolutely sees more drunk driving over the holidays, and it concerns her. She busted one motorist last week who’d cracked open a case of beer at 9:30 a.m.
Annie White says, “He had already started drinking that early in the morning, so that’s just amazing to me that at 9:30 in the morning, you’ve got people out there on the road, drinking and traveling long distances on the interstate."
The Florida Highway Patrol actually worked fewer deaths over this past Christmas weekend than an average 72-hour period, but up to twice as many of those fatalities as normal may turn out to be alcohol-related.
It will be weeks before final toxicology results pinpoint how many of the 19 fatalities FHP responded to over Christmas were caused by drunk driving, but eight are confirmed, and another seven are awaiting test results. White says expect zero tolerance from the cops over New Year's.
Annie White says, "If you’re drinking and driving, you’re going to go to jail. There’s just no excuses."
And the price is just too high.
The Florida Highway Patrol will have extra troopers on the highways over New Year’s weekend and will team up with local police to do DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols.