~ Florida Law Enforcement and Safety Advocates Encourage Drivers to Prepare Before Hitting the Road ~
Today, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) and its division of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) launched Florida’s annual Safe Summer Travel Campaign, ahead of what is expected to be a record-breaking travel season, to remind all Floridians and visitors to put safety at the top of their summer travel list.
As the number of residents and visitors who hit Florida roadways during the summer months increase, historically, so do the number of crashes. Last year, during June and July, there were more than 66,000 crashes in Florida – resulting in more than 2,600 serious bodily injuries and 568 fatalities. Among those crashes, there were 397 crashes in which a driver’s actions was reported as “exceeded posted speed limit,” up from 341 in June and July of 2020.
“With Florida’s thriving economy and world-class appeal to so many visitors and residents alike, there are more travelers on Florida’s roads than ever before. It’s important for all road users to drive how they would want others around them to drive – with courtesy and care,” said FLHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “Before heading out on the road this summer, be sure to check your tires, follow the speed limit, and always buckle up.”
In June and July 2021, there were more than 111,000 citations issued for unlawful speed – up from the more than 71,000 citations issued in 2020 during the same time frame. Citations for unlawful speed have been consistently high in the summer months since 2014. 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.
“During this busy summer season, remember to make sure your vehicle is maintained and allow yourself time to arrive at your destination safely,” said Colonel Gene S. Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “FHP Troopers will be patrolling the roadways across the state in an effort to prevent reckless driving behavior and ensure drivers are obeying all traffic laws.”
“With millions of visitors flocking to the Sunshine State to enjoy Florida’s warm summer weather, we want to ensure that residents and visitors feel safe when traveling to their destinations,” said Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Jared W. Perdue, P.E. “FDOT reminds you to buckle up, don’t drive impaired and make a plan. Respect others on the road, and together, we can make Florida’s communities a safer place this summer.”
“Florida is a wonderful state to live and visit; our summer months are a time in which we spend an exceptional amount of time traveling on our roadways to visit Florida’s remarkable destinations. We remind all our travelers to make sure your vehicles are road ready,” said Chief Stephan Dembinsky, Daytona Beach Shores Police Department and President of the Florida Police Chiefs Association. “We also remind travelers to prepare themselves and their vehicles for any potential roadside emergencies you might encounter. Have a plan and know who to call and how to get help should you need it while traveling. FHP and your Florida law enforcement officers and deputies will be there when you need us.”
“With our beaches and theme parks, Florida is known worldwide as a popular travel destination. Florida sheriffs encourage everyone to drive safely with consideration for others. We wholly support the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ Safe Summer Travel initiative,” said Sheriff Bobby McCallum, President, Florida Sheriffs Association.
“As a record number of travelers hit the road this Summer, it is critical to stay safe behind the wheel,” said Michele Harris, Florida Public Affairs Director, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Be courteous with other drivers even when they’re not and remember to stay alert to motorcyclists, pedestrians, bicyclists and all road users.”
Ensuring your vehicle is road-ready is the first step to a safe summer trip:
- Tires are your vehicle’s first line of defense – worn, damaged, or improperly inflated tires can cause crashes.
- According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drivers in the United States put more than 2,900 billion miles on their tires each year.
- To ensure everyone’s safety this summer, regularly inspect and maintain your tires.
- Pump it up this summer – literally. Under-inflated tires can overheat and endanger lives. Refer to your vehicle’s owner manual for the recommended tire pressure.
- Sun damage and age can cause headlights to yellow and become cloudy. Cloudy headlights can limit your ability to see and be seen on the road. If you have an older vehicle, consider changing the headlight casing or use restorative cleaners to improve visibility.
- Properly functioning windshield wipers play a major role in safe driving in inclement weather. Hot, sunny climates like Florida can cause windshield wipers to deteriorate faster and need more frequent replacement. Periodically check windshield wipers and replace as necessary. Noisy or streaky wipers indicate it is past time for replacement.
In addition to having a road-ready vehicle, throughout the months of June and July, FLHSMV will be educating the public on all aspects of safe driving. For more information on these topics, including additional summer safety tips, data, and downloadable resources, visit FLHSMV’s Safe Summer Travel webpage.