FHP Urges Motorists To Never Drive Impaired
The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), a division of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), is spreading the message Never Drive Impaired this March as residents and visitors celebrate spring break in Florida. FLHSMV and FHP are partnering with the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association and AAA – The Auto Club Group to spread the message on how to enjoy spring break in Florida safely.
“As visitors and residents enjoy their spring break in Florida this month, motorists are reminded to Never Drive Impaired to keep Florida safe,” said FLHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “Alcohol and drug impaired driving has severe consequences, from a costly DUI to serious bodily injury and even death. Help everyone Arrive Alive by planning for a safe ride every time.”
Florida’s beautiful beaches and tourist attractions bring thousands of spring breakers every year. Motorists driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol continues to be a serious problem; March had more impaired driving crashes and fatalities than any other month in 2019.
“The Florida Highway Patrol is committed to keeping impaired drivers off Florida roads through education, high visibility, and aggressive enforcement,” said Colonel Gene Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “FHP Troopers will be out in force protecting the public from impaired drivers this spring, so use good judgment and never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. We want to ensure you Arrive Alive while enjoying Spring Break in Florida.
From January 1, 2018, through December 31, 2019, there were 1,822 drug impaired crashes, resulting in 1,118 fatalities and 1,571 injuries. Individuals age 20-29 were the most reported age group in crashes with 456 drug-related crashes, and 772 positive drug test results reported to the department. The most prevalent drug in this age group was Marijuana followed by Other Controlled Substance, which includes prescription drugs such as benzodiazepines. Marijuana is the most prevalent drug in teenagers and young adults involved in crashes.
Driving impaired not only puts everyone on the roadway in danger, it can have serious legal and monetary consequences. Penalties for DUIs can include expensive fines, license revocation and jail time. There were 3,371 DUI arrests in 2019. This spring break, law enforcement agencies across the state will continue to enforce the state’s drinking age laws to help keep impaired drivers off the roads.
“Each year, visitors from all over the country choose Florida as their Spring Break destination,” said Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Kevin J. Thibault, P.E. “FDOT encourages drivers traveling on Florida’s roadways to stay safe and always drive sober. No life is worth the risk of driving impaired.”
“DBPR is committed to promoting and enforcing responsible practices for the service of alcoholic beverages and supporting licensed vendors who are vital parties in this effort at the frontline of each sale,” said DBPR Secretary Halsey Beshears. “We salute the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles on their efforts to keep Florida’s roads safe during spring break and throughout the year.”
“Spring Break in Florida provides a memorable experience for college students. To keep both our guests and residents safe, the Florida Sheriffs Association will be partnering with the Florida Highway Patrol and the Florida Police Chiefs Association in education and enforcement activities during this event. I am proud to represent our Florida Sheriffs by fully endorsing and supporting the Never Drive Impaired initiative,” stated Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, President of the Florida Sheriffs Association.
“The Florida Police Chiefs Association (FPCA) and its members know first-hand the devastating outcomes from driving while impaired. Florida Police Chiefs hope our Spring Breakers have a great time while visiting our state, however we encourage them to be responsible and not get behind the wheel while intoxicated. Getting them home safely to their families is priority number one,” said Temple Terrace Police Chief Kenneth Albano, President of the FPCA.
“FRLA and our members are committed to keeping Florida safe for our residents and millions of annual visitors,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA). “Responsible alcohol service reduces impaired driving, and we encourage our industry to entertain guests while promoting safe practices that ensure they arrive home safely.”
“Don’t make what could be a deadly choice to drive impaired,” said Matt Nasworthy, Florida Public Affairs Director, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Please celebrate Spring Break safely by planning for a safe and sober ride home.”
Visit FLHSMV’s website for more information and resources for the Spring Break: Never Drive Impaired campaign. FHP will be engaging in increased enforcement of impaired driving throughout the month, and the public is encouraged to report dangerous and drunk drivers by dialing *FHP (*347).