TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The sun is shining in Florida and more travelers are hitting the road to enjoy all that our great state has to offer. In an effort to keep residents and visitors safe this summer, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) today launched its Safe Summer Travel campaign, aimed at educating the public on a range of travel safety topics through strategic messaging and outreach across the state.
“As many Floridians and visitors are preparing for their much-anticipated trips, family reunions, and vacations this summer, FLHSMV is working to ensure safe summer travel for all,” said FLHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “The drive to your destination can be half the fun, so remember to slow down, enjoy the ride, and keep your cool behind the wheel.”
Last year, during the months of June and July, there were 53,766 crashes in Florida – resulting in 2,423 serious bodily injuries and 526 fatalities. Among those crashes, there were 337 in which a driver’s actions were reported as ‘exceeded posted speed limit,’ which is up from 298 in 2019. 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. Driving slowly and carefully also ensures you have plenty of time to stop in a situation with vulnerable road users, like pedestrians and bicyclists. In Florida, the speed limit will never be higher than 70 mph.
“The Florida Highway Patrol stands ready and committed to public safety during the busy summer months ahead,” said Colonel Gene S. Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “Take your time, buckle up, and be courteous to other road users while traveling in our great state this summer so everyone can Arrive Alive.”
Motorists are reminded to never leave a child, vulnerable adult, or pet 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; cracking a window open does little to keep the vehicle cool. There were 25 child vehicular heatstroke fatalities last year in the United States, three of which occurred in Florida.
“Vacations make some of the best memories for families,” said Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Shevaun Harris. “However, when we are in a new environment, we can get thrown off of our normal safety routines. It’s imperative that caregivers take precautions while traveling to prevent injury or tragedy, like drowning or heatstroke. Remember, always create a barrier to stop children from unsupervised access to pools, assign someone to be a ‘Water Watcher’ around bodies of water, and never leave children alone in hot cars.”
“As Florida prepares to welcome millions of visitors this summer, it is imperative we all take extra precaution behind the wheel so everyone can reach their destination safely,” said Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Kevin J. Thibault, P.E. “Whether you’re traveling down the street, taking a daytrip, or venturing out for summer vacation, plan your trip ahead of time and respect others on the road – every trip, every time.”
“Florida leads the nation with nearly 1 million registered vessels across the state and is known as a prime boating spot for residents and visitors,” said Col. Curtis Brown, director of the FWC’s Division of Law Enforcement. “The FWC encourages boaters to check safety equipment such as life jackets, whistle/horn, lights, fire extinguisher and flares before getting out on the water. Also, remember that boating while impaired by alcohol or drugs is dangerous and illegal. We want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable day on the water.”
“With our beaches and theme parks, Florida is known world-wide as a popular travel destination. Now that we are recovering from the recent pandemic, our citizens and guests are eager to travel about the state and enjoy themselves. As we return to normal, our Florida sheriffs encourage everyone to drive safely with consideration for others. On behalf of our Florida sheriffs, I fully endorse the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ Safe Summer Travel initiative,” said Sheriff Bobby Schultz, President, Florida Sheriffs Association.
“As we encourage and welcome our citizens and visitors to get out and enjoy the summer months in Florida, this creates more travelers on our roadways. We remind you to have your vehicle properly serviced and road ready,” said Chief Jeff Pearson, Satellite Beach Police Department and President of the Florida Police Chiefs Association. “We also remind you to avoid aggressive driving, don’t text and drive and never leave children or pets in an unattended vehicle, the consequences can be deadly.”
“As a record number of travelers hit the road this Summer, it is critical to stay safe behind the wheel,” said Matt Nasworthy, Florida Public Affairs Director, AAA – The Auto Club Group.“Be courteous with other drivers even if they’re not and stay alert around all road users including pedestrians.”
Throughout the Safe Summer Travel campaign, FLHSMV will focus on the following key topics:
- Speeding and Aggressive Driving
- Vehicular Heatstroke Prevention
- Buckling Up
- Vehicle Road Readiness
- Pedestrian Safety
- DUI and Crash Prevention
- Hurricane Season and Emergency Preparedness
- Low-Speed Vehicles and Boating Safety
For more information on these topics, including additional summer safety tips, data, and downloadable resources, visit FLHSMV’s Safe Summer Travel webpage.