CLEARWATER, FL (WFLA) – The Clearwater Police Department issued a word of warning Thursday. If you speed on U.S. 19, you run the risk of getting a ticket. Officers have witnessed a disturbing trend since construction on that stretch of roadway was completed, drivers are treating it like a drag strip.
Sergeant Christopher White has seen it all too often. “one night I was driving an unmarked car, southbound on U.S. 19 from 590, and a car came flying past me and I paced him at 114 miles per hour as he was entering the construction zone.” Said White. “it’s that type of flagrant violation that makes it very dangerous out here.”
White is one of the several officers on a speed enforcement detail on U.S. 19. Largo Police Officers are also taking part. “it’s sort of like fishing.” Said White. “you just set your cruise control at 55, which is the speed limit, and you wait for someone to go blowing past you.”
White says some motorists feel it’s insensitive writing citations during the holiday season, but he and other officers see it from a different perspective. “we’ve had a couple serious bodily injury accidents recently due to speed.'” Said White. “people driving too fast, trying to exit U.S. 19, they lose control. So far, no one has lost their life, but … Speed has a direct correlation with the fatality ratio in crashes. Thirty percent of traffic fatalities are related to speeding.”
Most drivers don’t enjoy getting pulled over, but Daniel Jimenez believes the police are doing a service to everyone who travels on U.S. 19. It just so happens, he was clocked doing 80 in a 55. “I should know better.” Said Jimenez. “you know, they’re doing a great job, I’m a CDL driver and I just got this car tuned up and I was just testing the waters a little bit. They’re doing a great job, they need to there have been a lot of accidents.”
Jimenez was lucky. He wasn’t involved in an accident, and because of his driving record received only a warning. “I’m giving you a warning for the speeding,” Sgt. White told Jimenez. “please slow down, please pay attention.”