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DHSMV Urges Safe Travel This Holiday Season

~ FHP reminds drivers to put driving safety at the top of their holiday checklist ~

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) launched its Holiday Travel Campaign to ensure motorists Arrive Alive to their destination. The holidays are a peak travel period and millions of Floridians and visitors are expected to travel on Florida roads over the next two months. DHSMV is partnering with the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association and the AAA – The Auto Club Group to urge responsible driving and vehicle safety.

DHSMV will be educating Floridians and visitors throughout the months of November and December on safe driving behaviors such as driving sober, buckling up, checking tires and registering their Emergency Contact Information (ECI). Additionally, focus will also be placed on obeying speed limits, not driving distracted and reporting dangerous drivers.

“As motorists travel on Florida roads this holiday season to visit friends and family, DHSMV reminds all drivers to celebrate responsibly,” said DHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “During this peak travel period, driving safety should be at the top of each holiday checklist. Drivers are reminded to ensure everyone in the car is properly buckled up and never get behind the wheel impaired.”

In 2016, more people died from alcohol and drug-related crashes than speeding-related crashes. Driving impaired reduces the crucial skills necessary to drive safely, such as judgment, reaction time, vision and concentration. Celebrate responsibly this holiday season. If you are going to be drinking or taking medication which impairs your ability to drive, plan ahead by designating a sober driver or calling a ride service.

“The Florida Highway Patrol is committed to keeping Florida’s roadways safe this holiday season,” said Colonel Gene S. Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “Get plenty of rest, ensure your vehicle is in good working order and buckle up before traveling to your destination.”

Of the 117 fatalities that occurred in vehicles with seat belts in the 2016 holiday season, 36 percent were not using their seat belts. Motorists should always buckle up and make sure everyone in the vehicle has the proper restraint secured at all times while driving. Seat belts save lives.

“The holidays can be a dangerous time to be on the road – people may be tired, distracted or rushed,” said Miami Shores Police Chief Kevin Lystad, president of the Florida Police Chiefs Association. “It’s important we do everything we can to protect not only our residents and guests traveling to and from holiday celebrations, but also our officers out on the road trying to keep everyone safe.”

“The holiday season is a time for both celebration and being thankful,” said Walton County Sheriff Mike Adkinson, President of the Florida Sheriffs Association. “As our citizens and their guests travel to visit loved ones over the holidays, we ask that they pay special attention to wearing their safety belts, driving safely and, of course, having a designated driver when attending holiday parties where adult beverages will be served.

“As the holidays approach, we all have to keep safety top of mind,” said Amy Stracke, Managing Director, Traffic Safety Advocacy, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Safety in your vehicle starts with your seat belt. It’s critical to buckle up on every ride and ask passengers to do the same.”

DHSMV reminds motorists to always keep their eyes on the road, hands on the wheel and mind on driving this holiday season. Travelers may need to adjust accordingly as traffic congestion and weather conditions may require driving more slowly this time of the year. 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: https://www.flhsmv.gov/holidaytravel.

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. For safe driving tips and techniques, download the official Florida Driver License Handbook.