Tampa Bay area residents and conspiracy theorists fear not: There will be no driver’s license and vehicle inspection checkpoints in West Central Florida this month.
ABC Action News in Tampa announced the checkpoints Monday, and its report has been linked to by various websites and shared on social networks, including the Twitter accounts of traffic news aggregates, West Florida residents and believers of an impending new world order.
As of Friday, counters on Action News’s website show the article was tweeted 106 times, recommended five times on Google Plus and recommended 23,273 times on Facebook.
Still, no such checkpoints are planned for this month or the near future, said Florida Highway Patrol Troop C spokesman Sgt. Steve Gaskins.
The ABC article has been updated to show no checkpoints will occur.
At a checkpoint, patrol troopers would stop cars, buses and trucks and ask for a driver’s license, registration and proof of personal injury protection insurance, according to the policy manual.
To ensure vehicles aren’t stopped by discrimination, troopers would stop every third or fifth one.
Troopers would inspect vehicle equipment such as brakes, tires and lights, according to the manual. The checkpoints would happen randomly during the day, last for a few minutes and be flexible to keep traffic from building.
Gaskins sends the releases the first of every month as a precaution, said FHP Capt. Nancy Rasmussen.
Patrol policy states the public must know about the checkpoints before they begin, Rasmussen said. The troop has the ability to conduct the checkpoints so Gaskins sends releases in case the troop decides to conduct them.
The release details which areas would be affected. Yet, as of now, no checkpoints are planned.
The patrol has received emails from concerned drivers in the area, Rasmussen said. Complaints about the article treat the checkpoints as a new policy, but FHP has conducted them in the past.
It’s been a year since the patrol last used the checkpoints, Rasmussen said.
“If they had the time to do it, it would fall within our policy, and our policy says we’d have to notify the media,” she said.