DHSMV Urges Motorists to Never Drive Impaired
~ As Floridians and visitors travel across the state this Spring Break, DHSMV reminds motorists to always drive safely and Arrive Alive ~
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), a division of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), is spreading the message Never Drive Impaired this March as residents and visitors celebrate Spring Break in Florida. The DHSMV and FHP are partnering with the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Sheriffs Association, the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association and AAA – The Auto Club Group to spread the message on how to enjoy spring break in Florida safely.
“As travelers enjoy their Spring Break in Florida this month, motorists are reminded to Never Drive Impaired to keep Florida safe,” said DHSMV Executive Director, Terry L. Rhodes. “Alcohol and drug impaired driving has severe consequences, from a costly DUI to serious bodily injury and even death. Help everyone Arrive Alive by planning for a safe ride every time.”
Florida’s beautiful beaches and tourist attractions lure thousands of Spring breakers every year. As more drivers take to Florida roadways, the decision to drive under the influence of drugs and alcohol continues to be a serious problem. March has the highest number of alcohol-confirmed crashes than any other month of the year.
“The Florida Highway Patrol wants to ensure that every driver makes good decisions before getting behind the wheel,” said Colonel Gene Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “Enjoy your Spring Break in Florida and be sure to use good judgment. Never drink or use drugs and drive.”
Based on preliminary data, March had the highest numbers of alcohol confirmed crashes of any month in 2018, almost ten percent of all alcohol confirmed crashes for the year. Individuals aged 18-34 were the largest demographic involved in drug related crashes. During 2018, there were 753 crashes involving 765 individuals who tested positive for drugs. Of those crashes, 389 were fatal crashes resulting in 422 fatalities.
Driving impaired not only puts everyone on the roadway in danger, it can have serious legal and monetary consequences. Penalties for DUIs can include expensive fines, license revocation and jail time. Since 2013, more DUI citations have been issued in March than in any other month of the year. This spring break, law enforcement agencies across the state will continue to enforce the state’s drinking age laws to help keep impaired drivers off the roads.
“We are proud to partner with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles for their Never Drive Impaired Campaign,” said Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Kevin Thibault. “It is vital that drivers keep themselves and other motorists safe by not driving under the influence of alcohol or legal/illegal drugs. Safe roads begin with each one of us.”
“The Florida Police Chiefs Association and its members know that Florida is destination number one for creating fun and lasting memories with friends and family. However, as our state bustles with the activity of Spring breakers, Florida’s busy roads pose a hazard as some make the terrible choice to get behind the wheel while intoxicated,” said Florida State University Police Chief David Perry, President of the Association. “The Florida Police Chiefs Association reminds you that it is NEVER acceptable to drink and drive, as this behavior leads to countless fatalities and injuries on our roadways each year. Let’s work together to make Spring Break 2019 the safest in Florida’s history.”
“Spring Break not only provides a pause from studies but also a memorable event for college students. Our Florida sheriffs encourage our youth to enjoy themselves but to not destroy this experience by driving impaired or allowing a friend to. On behalf of our great Florida sheriffs I fully support this initiative,” said Florida Sheriffs Association President, Sheriff Mark Hunter.
“Florida welcomes millions of visitors every year, and the hospitality industry is committed to ensuring each guest leaves with wonderful memories that last a lifetime,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association. “FRLA strongly encourages our members and all businesses to serve responsibly to keep Floridians and guests alike safe. As Spring Break season approaches, we have an amazing opportunity to provide experiences that turn first-time guests into lifelong visitors, and education about responsible alcohol service is more important than ever. FRLA is proud to be Florida’s premier provider of Responsible Alcohol Vendor training, and we look forward to continuing to lead Florida as we all work to creative positive, safe environments for all who visit the Sunshine State.”
“Don’t let what should be one of the greatest times of your life turn tragic,” said Matt Nasworthy, Florida Public Affairs Director, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Please celebrate Spring Break safely by planning ahead with a safe and sober ride home.”
Visit DHSMV’s website for more information and resources for the Never Drive Impaired Spring Break campaign. The public is encouraged to report dangerous and drunk drivers by dialing *FHP (*347).
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.