Houston County Sheriff's Office Preps for Spring Break

By Carolyn Brewster

Published 02/25 2014 04:00PM

Updated 03/10 2014 02:03PM

Spring break is notorious for accidents and even reckless driving. Authorities say when spring breakers realize they're only minutes from the Florida state line that's when dangerous driving often begins.

"In our past experiences we've noticed that they tend to start drinking a little bit about an hour and a half away from their destination which happens to be right here," said Captain Antonio Gonzalez of the Houston County Sheriff’s Office.

One of the top locations for college students to spend their spring break is Panama City Beach but for the circle city that means bumper to bumper traffic and sometimes dangerous driving.

"We seem to find a lot of extra recreational drugs taken with them as well too so we are aware of that situation especially if they're going to be drinking and driving so they may be also using that recreational material to also get them down to Panama City which is driving under the influence of an intoxicant controlled substance which is just as dangerous," said Gonzalez.

But the reckless decisions are nothing new to local authorities.

"Between Houston County Sheriff's Office, the Alabama State Troopers and the Dothan Police Department we're going to be a presence around the circle traveling through Dothan. We stay out there to ensure that as they're driving they're being safe…not starting the party too soon," said Gonzalez.

He says not only does the drinking and drug use often begin early but another dangerous driving habit starts--and that's texting and driving.

"Being, again, an hour and a half away they're going to start notifying their friends that are already down there we're only an hour and a half away. That's the texting and driving. And if they're not paying attention to their surroundings on the circle you're going to have fender benders, you're going to have reports of reckless driving, kids trying to get to their destination quicker than what the speed allows. We'll end up intervening at that point and when we do if we find anything that's against the law then they'll be spending their spring break here," said Gonzalez.

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