~ DHSMV encourages drivers to prepare before taking to the road ~
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) is launching its Safe Summer Travel Campaign, reminding motorists to put safety at the top of their travel checklist this summer. With more residents and visitors on Florida’s roadways, the DHSMV and its Division of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) are partnering with the Department of Children and Families, Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Sheriffs Association and AAA – The Auto Club Group to help ensure all travelers Arrive Alive.
“Summer is a great time to explore all Florida has to offer. Before heading out on the road, make sure you and your vehicle are travel-ready by checking your tires, checking for recalls and always buckling up,” said DHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “There are more travelers on Florida’s roads than ever before, so it’s critical to remember to slow down, stay cool and be safe.”
In Florida in 2017, there were 54,044 and 64,541 speeding citations in June and July, respectively. The number of speeding citations given in July was the highest out of any month in 2017. The highest number of “unlawful speed” citations were written to 20 year old drivers and 61 percent of all speeding citations were issued to men.
“The Florida Highway Patrol strongly urges everyone to follow all laws as you travel to your destination this summer and reminds drivers, no matter how eager you are to get to your destination, aggressive driving is extremely dangerous,” said Colonel Gene S. Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “State Troopers will be visible to ensure that drivers are obeying speed limits and everyone is buckled up.”
In 2017, 3,306 tire-related crashes occurred in Florida, resulting in 285 serious bodily injuries and 46 fatalities. As a vehicle’s first line of defense, tires should be routinely inspected and maintained to ensure they are in good condition.
In addition to educating Floridians on the importance of tire safety and seat belt use, the DHSMV reminds motorists to follow this critical Safe Summer Travel Checklist:
- Slow down, stay cool. Obey all posted speed limits. Speeding and driving aggressively increases the probability and severity of a crash.
- Check all tires, including the spare. Check the vehicle’s tire pressure and ensure the vehicle’s tires have adequate tire tread. Under-inflated tires can overheat. Never overload a vehicle; it can result in premature tire wear, blowouts and hydroplaning.
- Prepare for driving in inclement weather. Summer is hurricane season in Florida, and along with an increased number of wildfires, drivers should be aware of changing weather and road conditions. Drivers should know their evacuation routes, check road closures and call *FHP to report unsafe road conditions.
- NEVER leave children or pets in vehicles unattended. Summer can be incredibly hot in Florida and leaving children or pets unattended for even a short time can be deadly. Make sure all passengers are accounted for when exiting the vehicle.
- Register emergency contact information. In the event of an emergency, make sure law enforcement knows who to call. The DHSMV allows all driver license and ID card holders to register up to two designated emergency contacts. Log on to www.flhsmv.gov/eci to register or update contacts.
- Check for recalls. Always make sure your vehicle is in peak condition to travel. Check for recalls before hitting the road at www.safercar.gov.
- Drive Sober. Plan ahead and designate a sober driver or call a ride service. Report impaired drivers by dialing *FHP (*347) or 911.
Throughout June and July, DHSMV is joined by its campaign partners to educate Floridians on all aspects of vehicle and driving safety during the busy summer months.
“Before any trip this summer, take a moment to make sure every child has an age-appropriate safety restraint and use it every time you travel,” said Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Mike Carroll. “It only takes a few moments to make sure a child is properly restrained and no child should ever be left in a car alone for any amount of time.”
“When hitting the road this summer, the Florida Police Chiefs Association encourages motorists to take simple steps to help make it to their destination and back safely: follow the speed limit, buckle up, avoid distractions like texting, and designate a driver if you’ll be drinking,” said Miami Shores Police Chief Kevin Lystad, President of the Florida Police Chiefs Association.
“With our 663 miles of beaches and the most famous theme parks in the world, Florida is a destination for tourists and a great place for families to travel.,” said Florida Sheriffs Association President, Sheriff Mike Adkinson. “Our Florida sheriffs ask all our citizens and guests to slow down, watch out for each other, and enjoy the ride!.”
“Summer is a great time for traveling, celebrating and spending time with loved ones,” said Matt Nasworthy, Florida Public Affairs Director, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “But several contributing factors can make it a dangerous season to be behind the wheel. Please drive safely this summer and always plan ahead if you are celebrating away from home.”
The public is encouraged to report aggressive or impaired drivers by dialing *FHP (*347) and check traffic conditions before departing for their trip. For more information, real time traffic conditions and additional travel information, visit: www.flhsmv.gov/summertravel.