The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) and its division of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) is stressing caution among drivers this weekend, when many are expected to hit the road.
For law enforcement across Florida, the Labor Day Weekend signifies an increase in motorists traveling on the roadways, according to the department, increasing risk of traffic accidents.
“As we head into Labor Day weekend tomorrow, please keep safety at the forefront of your travel plans. We see an elevated number of motorists on our roadways on the Friday before Labor Day, which historically leads to more crashes,” FLHSMV executive director, Terry L. Rhodes said in a statement. “With more than 3,700 crashes occurring during the four-day holiday period last year, I urge all motorists to buckle up, slow down, and never drive impaired.”
Last year, the department recorded 3,714 crashes throughout the state during the four-day Labor Day Weekend. There were 43 fatalities — nine of which involved drugs and/or alcohol.
The FHP will also be increasing its presence throughout the state this weekend.
“To help ensure the safety of all Floridians this Labor Day weekend, FHP will have an increased presence throughout the state to remove impaired drivers and enhance services to motorists who need assistance while traveling,” Lieutenant Colonel Troy Thompson, acting director of the FHP, said in a statement.
“No matter how you plan to celebrate this weekend, make sure you plan it safely by never getting behind the wheel impaired and always following the rules of the road,” he continued. “Our Troopers and fellow law enforcement officers will be away from their friends and family to protect and serve yours — let’s all do our part as a community to keep our roads and loved ones safe.”
The department offered the following tips for those planning on traveling this holiday weekend:
— Don’t drive impaired. If you are planning to have alcoholic beverages, plan to have a designated driver or ride share service get you home safely. Never drive drug impaired.
— If you see an impaired or aggressive driver, call *FHP (*347) or 911.
— Obey speed limits and practice courtesy on the highway.
— Buckle up. Your seat belt is your vehicle’s best safety feature.
— ATVs and off-road vehicles are to be driven on unpaved roadways – never the highway.
— Don’t drive distracted. Keep your eyes on the road, hands on the wheel and mind on driving.
— Get plenty of rest before you get behind the wheel. Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as impaired driving.