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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Students urged to stay safe during break

University Police are urging students to be careful during Spring Break in light of several deaths that have occurred during breaks in the last year.

In 2007 a year that saw 34 UF student fatalities, three happened during Winter Break and two during Spring Break, according to UF statistics.

Not only do students face dangers as they travel to their Spring Break destinations, but also once they arrive at their vacation spots, University Police Department Capt. Jeff Holcomb said.

As students are driving on the interstate, they should be sure to wear seat belts and not drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, Holcomb said.

"A lot of the deaths we've seen lately have been traffic related," he said.

The two students who died during Spring Break 2007 were killed in a car accident, according to the fatality statistics. In total, 14 students died as a result of traffic accidents in 2007.

Journalism professor Ronald Rodgers said he warns his class to be careful during Spring Break because he has taught students who have died during the vacation.

Rodgers said he noticed one of his female students, Ashley Mills, wasn't sitting in her usual spot during editing class last year, and he later found out she had died in a car accident.

Now he makes sure to tell his students to drive safely.

Holcomb said even after students reach their destinations, certain precautions need to be taken.

They should be sure to plan ahead when they go out so they don't put themselves in situations that require them to drive while drunk, he said.

Students should also stay in groups, be aware of their surroundings and tell someone if they're going somewhere alone, he said.

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"As our 50,000 students leave for Spring Break, we're hoping 50,000 return next week," he said.

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