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Saturday, December 3, 2022

FLHSMV launches annual Safe Summer Travel campaign

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) is reminding motorists throughout the Sunshine State to make safety a priority on the roadways this summer.

This week, FLHSMV and its division of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) launched the state’s annual Safe Summer Travel Campaign, ahead of what is expected to be a record-breaking travel season. As the number of travelers on Florida’s roadways increases during the summer months, the number of crashes historically tends to rise as well.

Last year, during June and July, there were more than 66,000 crashes in Florida which resulted in over 2,600 serious bodily injuries and 568 fatalities. Among those crashes, there were 397 crashes in which the actions of a driver were reported as “exceeded posted speed limit,” which is up from 341 in June 2020 and July 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.

Rhodes added, “Before heading out on the road this summer, be sure to check your tires, follow the speed limit, and always buckle up.”

In June 2021 and July 2021, there were more than 111,000 citations issued for unlawful speed – up from the 71,000-plus citations that were issued in 2020 during the same time frame. Citations for unlawful speed have been consistently high in the summer months since 2014.

When drivers obey the posted speed limits and avoid driving aggressively, it 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 that there is 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 miles per hour.

Colonel Gene S. Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol, said, “During this busy summer season, remember to make sure your vehicle is maintained and allow yourself time to arrive at your destination safely. 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.”

“FDOT (Florida Department of Transportation) 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,” said Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Jared W. Perdue, P.E.

According to FLHSMV, the first step to ensuring a safe summer trip is to make sure that the vehicle is road-ready:

  • Tires are the vehicle’s first line of defense – worn, damaged, or improperly inflated tires can cause crashes.
  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers in the United States put more than 2,900 billion miles on their tires each year.
  • To ensure everyone’s safety this summer, drivers should regularly inspect and maintain their vehicle’s tires.
  • Pump it up this summer – literally. Under-inflated tires can overheat and endanger lives. Refer to the 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 a driver’s ability to see and be seen on the road. If a vehicle is older, drivers should 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 and sunny climates like Florida can cause windshield wipers to deteriorate faster, requiring more frequent replacement. Drivers should periodically check the windshield wipers and replace them as necessary. Noisy or streaky wipers indicate it is time for a replacement.

In addition to having a road-ready vehicle, FLHSMV will be educating the public on all aspects of safe driving throughout the months of June and July.

For more information on these topics, including additional summer safety tips, data, and downloadable resources, visit FLHSMV’s Safe Summer Travel webpage.