Give Your Loved Ones an Extra Reason to Be Grateful this Thanksgiving – Buckle Up
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Whether you are traveling across the state, down the street, or having a socially distanced drive-by celebration this Thanksgiving, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) and the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) urge all motorists and their passengers to buckle up and eliminate distractions. According to AAA – The Auto Club Group, 2.6 million Floridians are forecast to be driving during the Thanksgiving holiday. While Floridians are expected to travel less this Thanksgiving holiday, the vast majority who do travel will drive, accounting for almost 95 percent of holiday travelers.
“As we begin to reflect on all that we are grateful for, our loved ones’ safety and well-being is often top of the list,” said FLHSMV Executive Director, Terry L. Rhodes. “This Thanksgiving, please Give the Gift of Safety to your loved ones by always buckling up, never driving impaired, and putting down the distractions when driving.”
In 2019, preliminary, there were 10,183 crashes in Florida during the Thanksgiving holiday period – occurring from the Friday before Thanksgiving until the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Of those crashes, 392 resulted in serious bodily injuries and 98 fatalities.
From November 25 – 29, all available FHP troopers, along with FHP reserve and auxiliary members, will be patrolling the roads to help ensure safe travel.
“As we travel to gather with family and friends this Thanksgiving, please allow sufficient time to get to your destination, buckle up, obey the speed limits, and never drive impaired,” said Colonel Gene S. Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “Remember, you are sharing the road with our loved ones. Let’s work together to make sure everyone has a blessed holiday season.”
This Thanksgiving, motorists are reminded to:
- Never drive impaired. Celebrate responsibly and do not get behind the wheel if you have been drinking or took drugs that cause impairment. Plan ahead and find a safe way home every time – designate a driver or use a ride service.
- Check your tires. Tires are a vehicle’s first line of defense on the road. Check your tire pressure, tread depth and spare tire especially before long trips. Do not overload your vehicle, it can result in premature wear and tire blowouts.
- Buckle up. A seat belt is your vehicle’s most important safety feature. Florida law requires that all drivers, all front seat passengers and all passengers under the age of 18 wear seat belts or the appropriate child restraints. Seat belts save lives, so buckle up every trip, every time.
- Register or update your Emergency Contact Information (ECI). ECI is a secure system allowing law enforcement, nationwide, to contact designated family or friends in response to an emergency situation.
- Observe and obey all speed limits. Speed limits may change as you drive through different types of roadways, so make sure you adjust your speed accordingly. In Florida, the limit will never be over 70 mph.
- Check traffic conditions. Before leaving for a trip, check traffic conditions and allow sufficient time to arrive at your destination safely.
- Eliminate distractions. Always remember to keep your eyes on the road, hands on the wheel, and mind on driving.
FLHSMV is continuing the Safe Holiday Travel campaign, educating Floridians and visitors on safe traveling behaviors such as never driving impaired, focusing on driving, and registering their Emergency Contact Information (ECI). Additionally, FLHSMV is informing consumers of their rights and responsibilities when it comes to buying and selling a vehicle. FLHSMV is partnering with the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association, and AAA – The Auto Club Group to urge responsible driving and consumer habits this holiday season.
The public is encouraged to report aggressive or impaired drivers by dialing *FHP (*347) and check traffic conditions before departing for their trip by visiting FL511.com. For more information, including downloadable Road Trip Checklist & Safety Tips, visit: flhsmv.gov/holiday.
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 www.flhsmv.gov, follow us on Twitter @FLHSMV, find us on Facebook or follow us on Instagram.