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FDOT officials say drivers are responsible for over 200 tons of trash collected on Southwest Florida highway

Trash on I 75
Posted at 4:46 PM, Feb 13, 2023

LEE COUNTY, Fla. — On Monday, Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) engineer Amy Perez told Fox 4 that trash spanning from Naples to Tampa on Interstate 75 was creating a dangerous situation for all drivers.

“In the past two months, we've had 226 tons of litter and debris that we have picked up,” said Perez. An increase, Perez said is more than 100% compared to just three years ago — A big reason why on Monday, Perez said it was prompting FDOT contractors to hire 10 additional clean-up crew members, which will serve the area from Naples to Tampa.

Perez said the simple solution is to demand that drivers secure their loads of trash before transporting them across Southwest Florida roadways and highways.

Lieutenant Greg Bueno with Florida Highway Patrol said it doesn't matter the size of an item when it comes to the danger it can cause when it flies out of a vehicle. “It's an immediate hazard because that bucket is literally a missile,” said Bueno.

A missile, Bueno said, can cause a driver that is following another driver, to swerve and crash and it can mean an FDOT cleanup crew has to get involved. That's what Bueno said happened on the morning of Feb. 11 when a car hit two FDOT contractors on I-75 in Collier County.

“We are certainly praying for their full and complete recovery,” said Bueno. On Monday, Bueno did not discuss any possible charges. Bueno stressed that drivers need to secure their loads and not get out of the car to grab any trash.