News

2016

December Is Impaired Driving Prevention Month

~ DHSMV and partners committed to preventing impaired driving on Florida’s roadways ~

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – As part of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ (DHSMV) Holiday Travel campaign, throughout December, the DHSMV will focus on preventing impaired driving on Florida’s roadways. Across the state, the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) will be educating motorists on the dangers of impaired driving while aggressively patrolling the state’s roadways to ensure everyone makes it to their destination safely.

In December 2015, there were 550 drug and/or alcohol-related crashes in Florida, a four percent decrease in the amount of drug and/or alcohol-related crashes that occurred in December 2014. To further reduce impaired driving crashes, the DHSMV is partnering with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), AAA – The Auto Club Group, Florida Sheriffs Association and Florida Police Chiefs Association to educate motorists on the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

“The DHSMV is committed to ensuring safety on Florida’s roads through education and awareness,” said DHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “There is absolutely no excuse for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and endangering others on the roadways. Motorists must always drive sober to help ensure everyone is able to Arrive Alive.”

“The Florida Highway Patrol would like to remind everyone that driving under the influence is never acceptable,” said Colonel Gene S. Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “Troopers will continue to diligently enforce Florida’s laws related to impaired drivers during this holiday season.”

December is traditionally one of the most dangerous times of the year for impaired driving. Tragically, 120 people died in December 2015 from the 550 drug and/or alcohol-related crashes in Florida, an 11 percent increase from 2014. Motorists should always have a designated driver as alcohol and drugs reduce all of the crucial skills necessary to drive safely, such as judgment, reaction time, vision and concentration. Impaired driving can also mean 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.

“We want everyone to be safe on the roads and enjoy this holiday season,” said Jim Boxold, FDOT Secretary. “Never drive impaired. The life you save could be your own.”

“The best way to prevent impaired driving is to plan ahead and ensure you have a safe way home by choosing a designated driver, staying where you are celebrating or arranging for another form of safe transportation,” said Matt Nasworthy, Traffic Safety Consultant, AAA – The Auto Club Group.  “But, for those who don’t have a plan in place, Tow To Go (1-855-2-TOW-2-GO) acts as a safety net by providing a free, confidential local ride to a safe location. This service is available throughout Florida to both AAA members and non-members.”

“The Holiday Season is a time for joyous celebration with family and friends. During this time, your Florida Sheriffs make every effort to protect the citizens that we serve. On behalf of our sheriffs, the Florida Sheriffs Association proudly endorses and supports this initiative,” said Florida Sheriffs Association President, Sheriff Jerry L. Demings.

“Impaired driving is so dangerous to the millions of Floridians and visitors in our state during the holiday season, as well as to the thousands of police officers who are trying to keep these people safe,” said Coconut Creek Chief of Police Butch Arenal, President of the Florida Police Chiefs Association. “The holidays are a time for celebration; with safe and focused driving, we can help prevent tragedies caused by drunk or drugged driving.”

Tips to help ensure motorists Arrive Alive this holiday season:

  • Drive sober, and only sober. Legal age adults 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 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 – these 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.