FLHSMV Highlights Major 2019 Accomplishments in Pursuit of A Safer Florida
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) is highlighting major accomplishments of 2019, all in pursuit of the department’s vision: A Safer Florida. FLHSMV has gone above and beyond in 2019 to more efficiently and effectively execute its core mission, including: prioritizing the hiring of veterans; educating drivers on Florida’s new texting while driving law; achieving all-time-high Real I.D compliance rates; debuting a new customer friendly, cost-saving online traffic crash report portal; launching an innovative, self-service vehicle registration kiosks pilot program; using mobile units to bring driver and motorist services to hard-to-reach communities and customers; and much more.
Governor Ron DeSantis said, “With more than 20 million Florida residents and over 120 million annual visitors, the mission of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and the Florida Highway Patrol, to provide highway safety and security, is a mission with no end. Over the last year, the unwavering men and women of FLHSMV and FHP have taken on this challenge in new, exciting and customer-focused ways. I appreciate their contributions to making a safer Florida.”
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “Floridians owe a great deal of gratitude to the men and women of FLHSMV and the Florida Highway Patrol. They keep motorists in our state moving, as well as protect drivers and prevent crimes. FHP is a major partner in our fight against the opioid crisis by seizing deadly heroin and fentanyl that are smuggled across state lines into Florida. They also play a pivotal role combatting human trafficking and rescuing survivors. We are grateful for their service to our state, and their help in building a stronger, safer Florida.”
FLHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes said, “The staff of the FLHSMV and FHP work day in and day out to ensure safety on Florida’s highways and provide top-quality service to Florida’s motorists. With more than 17 million driver licenses and over 21 million vehicle registrations issued, and more than 46 million miles of roads patrolled by troopers each year, the job of FLHSMV is as big as it is important, but it’s a challenge our employees gladly accept every day.”
FLHSMV Employing More than 800 Veterans, Over 20% of Department’s Workforce
As testament to the department’s long-time commitment and strategic effort to hire our nation’s veterans, FLHSMV currently employs more than 800 veterans, who account for approximately 20% of the department’s workforce. Over the last four years, FLHSMV has hired an average of more than 100 veterans per year.
FLHSMV, FHP Educating Drivers on New Texting While Driving Law Implementation, Issue Nearly 800 Warnings
Florida’s Put It Down: Focus on Driving campaign’s goal is to ensure all motorists are aware of the state’s new regulations regarding wireless communications while driving and reminding everyone to never drive distracted. In addition to robust education campaigns, FHP has initiated more than 900 stops for texting while driving, issued nearly 800 warnings and issued nearly 50 citations to motorist this year. On July 1, 2019, using wireless communications while driving became a primary driving offense and Florida motorists can now be stopped and cited for texting and driving. The texting while driving law will go into full effect on January 1, in which a motorist may be stopped and cited for using a wireless communications device while driving and/or failing to use a device hands-free in a school zone, school crossing or active work zone.
Real ID Compliance Rate in Florida Surpasses 91%, Among Highest Rate in the Nation
In 2019, the number of Florida REAL ID Compliant credentials climbed to more than 16.9 million, over 91% of all driver licenses and ID cards issued in the state. The REAL ID Act became effective nationwide on May 11, 2008. Florida began issuing REAL ID compliant credentials after January 1, 2010. The new credentials have a star in the upper right corner of the card. Florida is a REAL ID compliant state and all Florida licenses should be accepted nationwide.
New Online Traffic Crash Report Database Available for Motorist
The department developed and launched the new FloridaCrashPortal.gov website for obtaining official copies of crash reports completed by Florida law enforcement agencies. The new portal offers citizens and visitors to Florida a secure and convenient platform to obtain copies of crash reports. Additionally, the department worked to lower fees for individuals to retrieve crash reports. The department projects that this change will save Florida consumers about $2.5 million per year in convenience fees. Since the new portal launched on July 1, 2019, the department has provided more than 264,000 crash reports.
Emergency Contact Information Registry Passes 70% of all Active Drivers, I.D. Holders
More than 70 percent of Florida’s active drivers and identification card holders now have their emergency contacts on record with the department, with more than 13 million participants of the more than 19 million total active credentials. The Emergency Contact Information (ECI) is an electronic database that allows law enforcement nationwide access to contact information for designated family or friends in response to an emergency. This information may save crucial time in an emergency. Anyone with a Florida driver license or ID card can register two contacts online or in a driver license office. Emergency contact information can only be accessed by law enforcement officers to notify individuals designated as such by a driver license or identification card holder.
Motorist Services Reaches Thousands with FLOW mobile
The 14 Florida Licensing on Wheels (FLOW) units partnered with various agencies to bring driver and motorist services to communities and customers who may otherwise have difficulty with access to department services. In 2019, the FLOW mobile units participated in 2,083 events, issuing 44,323 driver licenses and identification cards and assisting 77,715 customers. FLOWs traveled 361 times to both the Department of Corrections and Department of Juvenile Justice facilities, held 231 events targeted to seniors, conducted 151 trips to assist the homeless, attended 79 veteran functions and partnered 50 times with tax collectors to service their communities.
Pilot Program Launched for Innovative, Self-Service Vehicle Registration Kiosks
FLHSMV partnered with the Hillsborough and Polk County Tax Collectors to conduct a pilot project that deployed self-service kiosks to provide Florida residents with additional options to renew vehicle registrations. The kiosks allow drivers to renew their vehicle registrations and can conduct transactions in English and Spanish. So far, customers using the kiosks have renewed over 24,000 vehicle registrations. In November, the pilot was expanded to three Publix Supermarkets locations in Hillsborough County. Based on the success of the pilot, FLHSMV anticipates that other Tax Collectors across the state will deploy kiosks in their offices in 2020.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) provides highway safety and security through excellence in service, education and enforcement. FL 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 FLHSMV and the services offered, visit https://www.flhsmv.gov, follow us on Twitter @FLHSMV, find us on Facebook or follow us on Instagram.
This year, the FLHSMV celebrates its 50th anniversary and its Division of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) commemorates its 80th year. Learn more at flhsmv.gov/behindthedrive.