FLHSMV Highlights Major 2020 Accomplishments in Pursuit of A Safer Florida
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) is highlighting major accomplishments of 2020, all in pursuit of the department’s vision: A Safer Florida. The department has fulfilled its commitment to provide highway safety and security through excellence in service, education and enforcement.
FLHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes said, “Despite the challenges of the last year, the men and women of FLHSMV have worked day in and day out to improve the lives of Floridians and achieve our shared vision: A Safer Florida. I appreciate Governor DeSantis’ commitment to keeping Florida Communities safe, and to those who serve and protect them.”
Half a Million Highway Heroes Recruited to Help End Human Trafficking
The department launched a campaign aimed at enlisting half a million commercial truck drivers in the fight to end human trafficking. The campaign, Highway Heroes, involves a multimedia campaign, outreach materials mailed directly to commercial driver license holders, and a new website with resources to educate drivers on how to identify victims and report suspected human trafficking. In the first week of the campaign launch, almost 2,000 commercial drivers completed the training.
REAL ID Compliance Rate in Florida Surpassed 94%, Among Highest Rate in the Nation
The number of Florida REAL ID Compliant credentials climbed to more than 17.5 million, over 94% 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.
FLHSMV Launches First Phase of Multi-Year Motorist Modernization Program
The department launched the first phase of its Motorist Modernization Program, a multi-year phased plan for re-engineering the department’s driver license and motor vehicle systems to create efficiencies, enhance safety features for law enforcement agencies and improve customer experience now and into the future. When complete, the initiative will modernize driver license and vehicle registration systems to serve Florida’s growing population. FLHSMV has started creating its mobile driver license, Florida Smart ID. Once developed, it will bring many benefits to all Floridians. Benefits including safeguarding of customers’ personal information, transactional convenience, up-to-date driver status information, and contactless interaction for proof of identity or age.
FLHSMV Employing More than 770 Veterans, Continues Support for Veterans
As a testament to the department’s continued commitment and strategic effort to hire our nation’s veterans, the department currently employs more than 770 veterans and has over 850 veterans affiliated with the department including FHP Auxiliary and Reserve.
Additionally, the department secured legislation to support veterans entering the trucking industry through HB 1193. This bill allows the department to waive the requirement to pass the examination for a commercial driver license (CDL) for a military service member or veteran with specified training, including having at least two years of military experience in driving vehicles that would otherwise require a CDL to operate.
Specialty License Plate Sales Provided Over $34 Million to Organizations, Charitable Causes
Florida offers many different specialty license plates that promote and support the various causes and organizations represented by the specialty license plates. In 2020, the department directed over $34 million to the individual organizations. Currently, 1 in 10 registered vehicles in Florida have a specialty license plate.
Florida Highway Patrol Received Prestigious TRI-ARC Accreditation Award
The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) received the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies’ (CALEA) TRI-ARC accreditation award, acknowledging FHP’s commitment to maintaining high professional standards in the areas of law enforcement, communications, and training. As of July of 2020, only 24 agencies globally have received this honor, of which only three are state agencies. FHP is the second agency in the State of Florida to receive this prestigious award.
Florida Highway Patrol Increased Recruitment Efforts
In 2020, the Florida Highway Patrol is projecting to have graduated 135 recruits from its Training Academy, an increase from 119 recruits in 2019.
Secured Over $700,000 in Federal Grants for Driver Safety, Consumer Education Initiatives
The department secured federal grants for the following driver safety and consumer education efforts:
- To support the Drive with CARE (Courtesy, Attention, Responsibility, Experience) program. The purpose of this program is to inform teens and their parents about Graduated Driver License laws, as well as providing safety information on topics such as impaired driving, distracted driving, speeding, and occupant protection;
- To help educate motorcyclists and reduce the number of motorcycle-related crashes in Florida where teenagers are involved. The resources provided by this grant are being used to develop a Florida Motorcycle Awareness Guide, as well as tip cards, inform teens and their parents about motorcycle laws when riding a motorcycle, and encourage scooter operators to attend training;
- To educate and train commercial drivers in Florida on the signs of human trafficking and how to report it. Florida’s half a million licensed commercial drivers serve as the eyes and ears of our roadways and are a vital component in ending human trafficking in our state; and
- To raise awareness and encourage Floridians to use the department’s online services to replace or renew driver licenses or identification cards, register motor vehicles, vessels, or mobile homes, or to obtain tags and titles, rather than visiting an office.
Promoted Online Options for Driver License and Motor Vehicle Services
FLHSMV used digital advertising to encourage Floridians to complete their driver license or motor vehicle transactions online at GoRenew.com, as opposed to at an office location.
Deployed Florida Highway Patrol Personnel to Assist COVID Testing Sites and Checkpoints
To help ensure maximum public safety, Florida Highway Patrol personnel were deployed throughout the state to COVID 19 testing sites and interstate checkpoints.
Extended Expiring Driver Licenses to Support Florida Motorists, Truckers
To support Florida’s motorist as the state responded to COVID-19, and at the direction of Governor Ron DeSantis, the department extended certain expiring Florida driver licenses and identification cards and granted a 30-day extension beyond their expiration date.
Launched Website Chatbot to Better Serve Customers
The department launched a new virtual assistant or chatbot to further support customers looking for services from the department. Since its inception, the chatbot is being used, on average, by 4,000 customers daily. Additionally, the new tool enables the department to assist thousands of customers with their inquiries without incurring additional labor costs within the service center or agency.
Supported Florida Motorists in Need with Temporary Driving Permits
To assist customers while certain office services are curtailed, the department issued thousands of temporary driving permits to customers with expiring driver licenses.
Motorist Services Reached Thousands Through Florida Licensing on Wheels (FLOW)
To support the urgent need for commercial drivers, the department’s FLOW program partnered with the Tampa Truck Driving School, The CDL School, NW Lineman College, and Volusia County to provide services to commercial drivers entering the industry. In addition, the FLOW program launched an initiative to further support first responders by offering them targeted driver and motorist services.
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.