Combine peak Thanksgiving travel this holiday weekend with legions of fans arriving in Gainesville for the showdown between FSU and UF football on Saturday, and the need for motorists throughout Northeast Florida to exercise caution and patience on the road is greater than ever.
To minimize congestion on roadways, all state road work throughout Northeast Florida is suspended Wednesday, November 25 through Sunday, November 29 in anticipation of the large volume of traffic. Lane closure information for the following week is available every Friday at nflroads.com/blog.
Another safety effort undertaken by FDOT as part of the District Two Community Traffic Safety Program is the 18th annual “Celebrate Safely” campaign, encouraging people to celebrate safely by designating a sober driver before they go out during the holiday season, and to report impaired drivers by dialing *FHP on a cell phone.
This year, partners in the effort include:
|AAA Auto Club Group||Northeast Florida Safety Council, Inc.|
|CSX Transportation||NorthStar Corporate Housing|
|Favorite Studios, Inc.||Terrell Hogan|
In 2014, nearly 500 restaurants across Northeast Florida participated, offering free soft drinks to the designated driver in every party. This year, the team set a goal of involving more than 500 restaurants in the campaign to reduce injuries and fatalities due to drunk driving. This is an especially urgent goal in light of the increase in traffic fatalities this year in 12 of the 18 counties in Northeast Florida, and across the region as a whole.
Several law enforcement waves are scheduled during the holiday season in addition to “Celebrate Safely.” Extra law enforcement officers will be out from November 25-29, ensuring that people are buckled up. Last Thanksgiving, law enforcement agencies across Florida worked 3,988 crashes, where 43 motorists were killed. Ten of those people were not wearing seatbelts when the accidents occurred. As Col. Gene Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol, reminded Floridians earlier this week, “Buckling your seatbelt is one of the simplest, safest things you’ll ever do to stay alive.”
December marks National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month, and from Friday, December 18 through the New Year, there will be an enforcement wave focused on impaired driving. These efforts are crucial to protect motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians alike. Enjoy this holiday season responsibly — do your part to keep yourself and others safe by remaining alert and cautious on the roads into 2016 and beyond.
To learn more about the Traffic Safety Team’s efforts and download a copy of “Recipes for the Road”, visit trafficsafetyteam.org.