Photo/Story Gallery 2003

Celebrate Safely This Holiday Season

A group of several agencies, including FHP, shown together at the Fernandina Beach waterfront with their agency vehiclesThe Nassau County Community Traffic Safety Team, Shands Trauma One and Florida Highway Patrol are sponsoring a public awareness program focusing on designated drivers during the December-January holiday season.

Pictured: A group of several agencies, including FHP, came together at the Fernandina Beach waterfront to remind motorists to celebrate safely this holiday season.

Members of the area restaurant association will also be participating in the Celebrate Safely program by serving non-alcoholic beverages free of charge to patrons who identify themselves as the designated driver. Shands Trauma One will provide posters for each business to display, as well as buttons for designated drivers to wear while in their establishment. Recipes 4 the Road, an original collection of non-alcoholic drinks from restaurants throughout the First Coast, will also be available.

During 2003, there have been 16 traffic fatalities in Nassau County. Fifty percent of these crashes involved the use of alcohol or drugs, which is higher than the state average of 33 percent.

Even one drink of alcohol can affect your driving. Alcohol slows your reflexes and reaction time, reduces your ability to see clearly and makes you less alert. As the amount of alcohol in your body increases, your judgment worsens and your skills decrease. You will have trouble judging distances, speeds and the movement of other vehicles. The best advice is, if you drink alcohol, do not drive, and choose a designated driver.

Know Florida’s DUI Laws

DUI in Florida: .08 is the rate

Under Florida law, a blood or breath alcohol level of .08 is evidence that a person is under the influence of alcohol to the extent that normal faculties are impaired. However, a person may be found guilty of DUI with a lower level.

Consent to be tested

By accepting and using a Florida driver license, a person agrees to submit to an approved chemical test or physical test, including but not limited to a breath or urine test, when lawfully arrested for DUI. Refusal to take a test will result in a one-year suspension of the person’s driver’s license for the first refusal or an 18-month suspension for each subsequent refusal. These suspensions are in addition to any other penalties that may be imposed by the court upon a DUI conviction.

Commercial drivers: .04 or more

A driver of a commercial vehicle may be found guilty of a moving violation if found with any alcohol in his/her body. A blood or breath alcohol level of .04 or above would disqualify a driver from operating a commercial vehicle for one year.

Pop a top, face a fine

Florida law prohibits possession of open containers of alcoholic beverages by the driver and passengers of most vehicles.

Under 21: .02 applies to you

Anyone under 21 years of age with a blood or breath alcohol level of .02 or above found driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle will lose his/her driving privilege for six months. A driver under 21 years of age may be charged with DUI if the law enforcement officer determines that the driver’s faculties are impaired.


  1. Don’t drink & drive.
  2. Leave early on trips and return home early.
  3. Buckle your safety belts.
  4. Place children in child seats and in the back.
  5. Obey posted speed limits.

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