DHSMV Reminds Motorists to Drive Sober for Impaired Driving Prevention Month

~ FHP encourages safe travel and commits to removing impaired drivers from Florida’s roadways ~

 TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – This month, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ (DHSMV) Division of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) is focusing on preventing impaired driving on Florida’s roadways. FHP will be educating motorists on the dangers of impaired driving, as well as patrolling the state’s roadways to ensure everyone makes it to their destination safely as part of the Safe Holiday Travel campaign.

From December 23, 2016 to January 2, 2017, there were 193 drug and/or alcohol-related crashes on Florida roadways, resulting in 36 fatalities. Although alcohol confirmed crashes have decreased 15 percent from 2014, drug confirmed crashes have risen 50 percent from 2014.

“DHSMV’s first priority is to ensure Florida motorists Arrive Alive this holiday season,” said DHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “Impaired driving puts your life and the lives of everyone on the roadway at risk. Motorists should always arrange to have a safe ride home so that everyone can make it to their destination safely.”

December is traditionally one of the most dangerous times of the year for impaired driving. Drugs and alcohol reduce all crucial skills necessary to drive safely, including judgment, reaction time, vision and concentration. Motorists who plan on drinking should always have a designated driver or use a ridesharing service. Impaired driving includes driving under the influence of over-the-counter or prescription drugs that affect the ability to drive. Be sure to check the labels on medication to see if it will cause drowsiness or the inability to operate a vehicle safely.

“Troopers will continue to aggressively enforce impaired driving laws to ensure all motorists and their families are safe during this holiday season,” said Colonel Gene S. Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “The Florida Highway Patrol reminds everyone that driving under the influence of any substance is never acceptable.”

The DHSMV is partnering with the Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association and AAA – The Auto Club Group to educate motorists on the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs to further reduce impaired driving crashes.

“The Holiday Season is a time for celebration with family and friends,” said Walton County Sheriff Mike Adkinson, President of the Florida Sheriffs Association. “Our Florida Sheriffs will make every effort to ensure that the citizens we serve will be safe during this joyous time. On behalf of our sheriffs, the Florida Sheriffs Association proudly endorses and supports this initiative.”

“Driving while impaired is an almost certain way to ruin the lives of those around you – your loved ones, family members and friends – as well as your own,” said Miami Shores Police Chief Kevin Lystad. “Make the smart choice to hand over your keys if you are impaired in any way. The life you save could be yours.”

Tips to help ensure motorists Arrive Alive this holiday season:

  • Drive sober, and only sober. Adults 21 years or older should celebrate responsibly and plan ahead by finding a safe way home every time – designate a driver or call a ride service.
  • Observe and obey all speed limits. Speed limits may change through different types of roadways, so be sure to adjust your speed accordingly. In Florida, the limit will never be over 70 mph.
  • Buckle up. A seat belt is a 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.
  • Focus on driving. Texting, talking on the phone, eating, adjusting the stereo – are all examples of things that can take attention off the road. Motorists should always have their hands on the wheel, eyes on the road and mind on driving.

The public is encouraged to report impaired drivers by dialing *FHP (*347). For more information, real time traffic conditions and additional travel tips and information, visit: https://www.flhsmv.gov/holidaytravel.

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.

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