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This Summer, Put Safety at the Top of Your Travel Checklist

~ DHSMV launches Safe Summer Travel Campaign ~

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) has launched its Safe Summer Travel Campaign, reminding motorists put safety at the top of their travel checklist this summer. With more residents and visitors on Florida’s roadways, the DHSMV and its Division of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) are partnering with the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Department of Children and Families, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Sheriffs Association and AAA – The Auto Club Group to help ensure all travelers Arrive Alive.

“Summer is one of the busiest times on Florida’s roadways, and motorists should take critical steps before departing to avoid a crisis on the road,” said DHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “Whether it’s a day-trip or family vacation, ensure you and your vehicle are travel-ready by checking your tires, checking for recalls and always buckle up.”

Florida law requires that all drivers, all front seat passengers and all passengers under the age of 18 buckle up. In 2016, 42 percent of those who were killed in crashes in vehicles where seatbelt use is required chose not to wear their seatbelts. Every time you get into a vehicle, no matter where you are sitting, buckle up.

“The Florida Highway Patrol will be a visible safety presence on Florida roadways this summer, educating the motoring public and taking enforcement action when needed,” said Colonel Gene Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “Seatbelts have saved the lives of thousands of drivers and passengers, so be sure to buckle up every time you get in your vehicle.”

In 2016, 4,309 tire-related crashes occurred in Florida, resulting in 1,424 injuries and 57 fatalities. As a vehicle’s first line of defense, tires should be routinely inspected and maintained. DHSMV recommends drivers do the following:

  • Check the vehicle’s tire pressure. Under-inflated tires can overheat in Florida’s summer weather and endanger the lives of motorists and their passengers.
  • Ensure the vehicle’s tires have adequate tire tread.
  • Ensure your vehicle is not overloaded. An overloaded vehicle creates excessive heat inside tires, which can result in premature tire wear, blowouts and hydroplaning.
  • Check to make sure you have a spare tire and that it is in good condition.

In addition to educating Floridians on the importance of tire safety and seat belt use, the DHSMV reminds motorists to follow this critical Safe Summer Travel Checklist:

  • Prepare for driving in inclement weather. Summer is hurricane season in Florida, and along with an increased number of wildfires, drivers should familiarize themselves in changing weather conditions. Drivers should know their evacuation routes, check road closures and call *FHP to report unsafe road conditions.
  • NEVER leave children or pets in vehicles unattended. Summer can be incredibly hot in Florida and leaving children or pets unattended for even a short time can be deadly. Make sure all passengers are accounted for when exiting the vehicle.
  • Register emergency contact information. In the event of an emergency, make sure law enforcement knows who to call. The DHSMV allows all driver license and ID card holders to register up to two designated emergency contacts. Log on to flhsmv.gov/eci to register or update contacts.
  • Check for recalls. Always make sure your vehicle is in peak condition to travel. Check for recalls before hitting the road at safercar.gov.
  • Slow down. Obey all posted speed limits. Speeding increases the probability and severity of a crash.
  • Drive Sober. Plan ahead and designate a sober driver or call a ride service. Report impaired drivers by dialing *FHP (*347).

Throughout June and July, campaign partners will also be educating Floridians on critical safe driving and vehicle maintenance practices during the busy summer months.

“As summer in Florida brings waves of people to our roads and highways, it’s absolutely imperative that we work together to educate and encourage drivers to practice safe driving behaviors,” said Coconut Creek Police Chief Butch Arenal, President of the Florida Police Chiefs Association. “Our officers are out every day protecting the millions of residents and guests in our state, but this absolutely must be a collaborative effort.”

“Florida is one of the most desired vacation destinations in the world because of its beautiful beaches and outstanding theme parks,” said Florida Sheriffs Association President, Sheriff Jerry Demings. “Florida sheriffs work to provide a safe environment for our residents and visitors, and proudly support the Safe Summer Travel campaign.”

“When traveling this summer, take a moment to ensure the safety of you and your loved ones,” Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Mike Carroll said. “When we get in a hurry, we can make mistakes – fatal mistakes such as forgetting to buckle up or unintentionally leaving a child in a car. It takes only minutes for a child to have a heat stroke. Use prevention measures that fit your needs when you’re on the road this summer.”

The public is encouraged to report aggressive or impaired drivers by dialing *FHP (*347) and check traffic conditions before departing for their trip. For more information, real time traffic conditions and additional travel information, visit: www.flhsmv.gov/summertravel.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles provides highway safety and security through excellence in service, education and enforcement. The Department is leading the way to a safer Florida through the efficient and professional execution of its core mission: the issuance of driver licenses, vehicle tags and titles and operation of the Florida Highway Patrol. To learn more about DHSMV and the services offered, visit www.flhsmv.gov, follow us on Twitter @FLHSMV or find us on Facebook.