~ This Summer, be sure to check your tires, obey all posted speed limits and never leave children and pets unattended in a motor vehicle. ~
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) 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, FLHSMV and its Division of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) are partnering with the Florida 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 one of the busiest times on Florida roadways, but it is also a great time to travel with the whole family. Take time to make sure your vehicle is travel-ready and always check for children and pets every time you get out of your vehicle,” said FLHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “Whether it’s a day trip or longer vacation, remember to slow down, stay cool and be safe.”
In June and July 2018, there were 118,060 citations issued for unlawful speed, the highest out of any other months. Obeying speed limits and not driving aggressively improves safety by reducing the probability and severity of crashes. All motorists must obey speed limits and are responsible for knowing the speed limit on the roadway. In Florida, the speed limit will never be higher than 70 mph.
“As we approach one of the busiest times on Florida’s roadways, FHP Troopers remain committed to being highly visible to ensure motorists are following speed limits and not driving aggressively,” said Colonel Gene S. Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “Take the time to safeguard yourself and your loved ones by preparing your vehicle before a road trip and Arrive Alive this summer.”
Motorists are reminded to never leave a child unattended in a vehicle, even for a short period of time. The inside of a vehicle can heat by 20 degrees in just 10 minutes and cracking a window open does little to keep the vehicle cool. There have been nine child heat stroke deaths in the United States in 2019, three occurred in Florida, claiming the lives of three children. Since 1998, 91 child heatstroke deaths have occurred in Florida, more than any other state except Texas.
“Families across Florida are gearing up to enjoy quality time during summer break,” said DCF Secretary Chad Poppell. “Parents and caregivers should always remain vigilant around water and remember to never leave a child alone in a vehicle. Tragedy can strike in seconds. Always take the proper precautions to keep you and your family safe all year long.”
Throughout June and July, FLHSMV is joined by its campaign partners to educate Floridians on all aspects of vehicle and driving safety during the busy summer months.
“The summer months are some of the busiest on Florida’s roadways. Whether you’re hitting the road for the ultimate family vacation or driving across town, prepare before you leave, practice good habits behind the wheel and never leave children or pets unattended,” said Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Kevin J. Thibault, P.E. “From checking tire pressure and planning your route to always driving sober and obeying the speed limit, simple steps can make a big difference and help keep you and others safe. The first line of defense is our behavior. And remember, buckle up – every trip, every time.”
“When planning your summer travel, the Florida Police Chiefs Association encourages motorist to take simple steps to prepare: check your tires for wear, slow down and follow the speed limit, avoid distractions like texting, and never leave a child unattended in a vehicle. Make a habit of looking in the front and back of the vehicle before walking away,” said Florida State University Police Chief David Perry, President of the Florida Police Chiefs Association.
“With our beautiful beaches, theme parks, and diverse population, Florida is one of the premier travel destinations in the United States,” said Sheriff Mark Hunter, President of the Florida Sheriffs Association. “Our Florida Sheriffs encourage you to protect your family by driving safely while you enjoy your travels this summer.”
“Please celebrate summer safely by thinking of those in your car and others on the road,” said Matt Nasworthy, Florida Public Affairs Director, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Avoid distractions, drive sober, share the road patiently and make sure everyone wears their seat belt.”
As a vehicle’s first line of defense, tires should be routinely inspected and maintained to ensure they are in good condition. In 2018, preliminarily, 3,673 tire-related crashes occurred in Florida, resulting in 213 serious bodily injuries and 60 fatalities. The highest number of tire defect coded crashes characteristically occur from May through August as temperatures climb, creating excessively hot road conditions, and travel increases.
FLHSMV 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.
- 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 FLHSMV allows all driver license and ID card holders to register up to two designated emergency contacts. Log on to flhsmv.gov/eci to register or update contacts.
- 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.
- Check for recalls. Always make sure your vehicle is in peak condition to travel. Check for recalls before hitting the road at nhtsa.gov/recalls.
- Drive Sober. Plan ahead and designate a sober driver or call a ride service. Report impaired drivers by dialing *FHP (*347) or 911.
The public is encouraged to report aggressive or impaired drivers by dialing *FHP (*347) or 911 and check traffic conditions before departing for their trip. For more information, real time traffic conditions and additional travel information, visit: flhsmv.gov/summertravel.