Highway patrol issues citations

Florida Highway Patrol Recruit Trooper Xavier McCullough, left, and Florida Highway Patrol Master Trooper Tod Cloud issue citations to a motorist Tuesday, June 16, 2020, near the intersection of West Venable Street and U.S. 19 in Crystal River.

Florida Highway Patrol said it has multiple purposes for staging troopers along U.S. 19 including seat belt compliance and monitoring speed as motorists enter a construction zone south of Crystal River continuing into Homosassa.

Trooper Recruit McCullough said following posted speed limits is always smart and driving too fast can have dire consequences.

"Speed kills," he said following pulling over several motorists Tuesday. "When you do not obey the laws as far as the speed limits that are set it can cause you or someone else their life. It's very important that you follow that guideline." 

Southbound motorists entering the extended construction zone on U.S. 19 are faced with speed limits reduced from 45 mph near the West Venable intersection to 35 mph inside the construction zone.

"We're sitting in this spot because traffic is going into a construction zone," Master Trooper Tod Cloud said. "Just yesterday we had a reconfiguration of the lanes."

He added that lanes regularly are shifted as work continues making travel tricky on the crowded highway. Receiving traffic ticket inside a construction zone can also become costly in a financial sense as fines are increased in a construction zone when workers are present.

"Once motorists are in the actual construction zone the fines are doubled," he said.

Congested work zones require extra attention and distractions like cell phones or other devices are frowned upon, according to the Troopers.

McCullough said it only takes a second to take eyes off the road before an accident can happen.

"It is so important to drive and only pay attention to the road, not your phone. Your phone will be there. Texting is not important enough to cause you or somebody else their life." he said.

Contact Chronicle Photo Editor Matthew Beck at 352-564-2919 or mbeck@chronicleonline.com.