TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – ‘Tis the season for holiday travel, and millions of Floridians and visitors are expected to travel on Florida roadways over the next two months. Today, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) launched its Safe Holiday Travel campaign, aiming to ensure motorists Arrive Alive to their destination and educate consumers on best practices for buying and selling a vehicle during the holiday season. FLHSMV is partnering with the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association, and AAA – The Auto Club Group to urge responsible driving and consumer habits.

FLHSMV will be educating Floridians and visitors throughout the months of November and December on safe traveling behaviors such as never driving impaired, focusing on driving, and registering their Emergency Contact Information (ECI). Additionally, focus will be placed on informing consumers of their rights and responsibilities when it comes to buying and selling a vehicle.

“Whether you are traveling on the road, or buying a vehicle to get on the road, safety should always be priority number one,” said FLHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “As motorists and consumers, we must all be diligent in our efforts and actions this holiday season to protect those we cherish.”

In 2018, preliminarily, there were 9,896 crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday period, with 79 resulting fatalities. There were 9,983 crashes during the Christmas and New Year holiday period, resulting in 111 fatalities. There were 405 impaired driving crashes, defined as alcohol confirmed, drug confirmed or alcohol and drugs confirmed, in the Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year holiday periods combined.

“The Florida Highway Patrol encourages everyone to celebrate responsibly and never drive impaired,” said Colonel Gene S. Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “Plan ahead and designate a driver if you are going to be drinking as you travel on Florida’s roadways this holiday season.”

“During the holidays, don’t let celebrating the season turn tragic by getting behind the wheel impaired,” said Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Kevin J. Thibault, P.E. “It is up to each one of us to commit to using good judgment while driving. FDOT is proud to join FLHSMV in reminding drivers to be responsible on the roadways so everyone can arrive safely at their destinations.”

“The holiday season is a time for families to gather and celebrate. Our Florida sheriffs are asking that our citizens, that we proudly serve, and those visiting our great state drive safely to prevent a tragedy during this special season. On behalf of our Florida sheriffs, I fully support the FLHSMV’s Safe Holiday Travel Campaign,” said Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, President of the Florida Sheriffs Association. 

“Whether you’re traveling, shopping or attending a celebration, it is critical to keep safety first during the holiday season,” said Matt Nasworthy, Florida Public Affairs Director, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Distracted and impaired driving are more prevalent this time of year. So we all must be at our best behind the wheel.”

The winter holiday season, or end of the calendar year, is a popular time to sell or buy a vehicle. With more avenues and methods for selling and buying a car than ever before, it is critical for consumers to understand their rights and responsibilities when it comes to buying or selling a vehicle.

FLHSMV reminds motorists to always keep their eyes on the road, hands on the wheel and mind on driving this holiday season. Travelers may need to adjust accordingly as traffic congestion and weather conditions may require driving more slowly this time of the year. The public is encouraged to report aggressive or impaired drivers by dialing *FHP (*347) and check traffic conditions before departing for their trip by visiting FL511.com. For more information, including downloadable graphics, safety tips and statewide data, visit: flhsmv.gov/holiday.