~ DHSMV urges residents and visitors to always designate a sober driver ~
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) and its division of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) urge residents and visitors to Arrive Alive, Don’t Drink and Drive as they celebrate spring break this month. DHSMV and FHP are partnering with the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Sheriffs Association, AAA – The Auto Club Group and the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association to encourage individuals to enjoy their spring break vacation responsibility by not driving impaired.
“With record numbers of motorists on Florida roads, students and families enjoying their spring break are reminded to designate a sober driver or find a safe ride home,” said DHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “Drinking and driving can turn a fun and exciting vacation into a nightmare. Help everyone Arrive Alive this spring break; plan ahead and never let an impaired friend drive. Take the keys and save a life.”
As one of the top Spring Break destinations in the nation, DHSMV reminds high school and college-aged students flocking to Florida’s warm climate and beautiful beaches to drive responsibly. Preliminary data shows that there were more than 37,000 crashes resulting in more than 2,000 serious bodily injuries and 295 fatalities statewide in March 2017, making it the month with the highest number of total crashes, injuries and fatalities.
“The Florida Highway Patrol is enhancing its efforts this month, with an emphasis on impaired drivers,” said Colonel Gene S. Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “Be sure to use good judgment, enjoy your time in Florida and don’t drink or use drugs and drive.”
Since 2013, more DUI citations have been issued in March than in any other month of the year. Impaired drivers not only put the lives of everyone on the roadway at risk, they can face serious legal and monetary consequences. Penalties for DUIs can include expensive fines, license revocation and jail time. 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.
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s (DBPR) Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco enforces the state’s beverage law and is responsible for licensing all Florida establishments that sell or service alcohol. This spring break, DBPR is partnering with state and local law enforcement agencies to help further enforce the legal drinking age and ensure that establishments are serving alcohol only to those age 21 or older.
“The DBPR’s Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco is committed to enforcing the minimum age for possession of alcohol and ensuring licensed Florida businesses remain in compliance during spring break,” said DBPR Secretary Jonathan Zachem. “Spring break is a great time to enjoy everything the Sunshine State has to offer, and we want to ensure everyone does that safely and in accordance with the law.”
“As visitors and residents celebrate their spring break in our state each year, we see an increase in drunk driving incidents. The Florida Police Chiefs Association is proud to partner with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to promote safe and responsible driving during spring break,” said Miami Shores Police Chief Kevin Lystad, President of the Association. “We know all too well that drinking and driving often leads to serious injuries or fatalities. It’s important to educate Floridians and guests about the dangers of impaired driving. Florida’s police chiefs fully support and endorse this initiative.”
“With its miles of beaches and beautiful weather, Florida is one of the prime destinations for youth to celebrate Spring Break each year,” said Sheriff Mike Adkinson, President of the Florida Sheriffs Association. “Given that our primary mission is to protect the citizens we serve, our Florida Sheriffs fully support the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle’s Arrive Alive, Don’t Drink and Drive initiative this March.”
“Spring Break is a great time to celebrate with friends and family, but it can easily take a tragic turn when alcohol is involved,” said Matt Nasworthy, Florida Public Affairs Director, AAA – The Auto Club Group.
“Before anyone has their first drink, please plan ahead to make sure all of your loved ones get home safely.”
Regulatory Compliance Services (RCS), a subsidiary of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA), provides risk management and regulatory compliance training to the state’s hospitality industry. RCS training programs include Responsible Vendor Training and Alcohol Compliance to educate servers and sellers on the legal manner of serving alcohol and preventing underage drinking.
“Florida is fortunate to be revered as one of the nation’s leading destinations, welcoming 113 million visitors in 2016,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. “Admired for our world-class hospitality industry, it is our duty to lead by example. We strongly encourage our businesses across the state to serve responsibly and create wonderful memories for our guests. As Florida’s premier provider of responsible alcohol vendor training, we are dedicated to risk management and strongly recommend that businesses and patrons refocus awareness and take precaution during this busy season.”
Visit DHSMV’s website for more information and resources for the Arrive Alive, Don’t Drink and Drive Spring Break campaign. The public is encouraged to report dangerous and drunk drivers by dialing *FHP (*347).