Public Affairs Officer, FHP Lieutenant Bill Leeper, warned Historic City News readers, especially the thousands of spring-breakers who visit St. Johns County’s beautiful beaches and numerous tourist attractions every year, to “think twice” before driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
“The Florida Highway Patrol isn’t against having a good time — we just want spring breakers to celebrate safely so that no one has to go home in a body bag,” said Leeper. “Please drive sober and drive safe.”
Driving impaired not only puts everyone on the roadways in danger, but drivers should also know that Florida’s tough DUI laws have stiff penalties that can leave you with an empty wallet.
Drivers under the age of 21 should keep in mind that if are caught with a blood alcohol content level of .02 or higher, their license will be administratively suspended for six months. A second offense results in a one-year suspension.
The first offense for refusing to submit to testing results in a suspension of 12 months, and a second offense results in an 18-month administrative suspension.
The Florida Highway Patrol offers the following tips to make sure that you and everyone with whom you celebrate enjoy your spring break:
• Plan ahead. Always designate a sober driver before any drinking begins, or take a taxi or public transportation if you plan to drink alcohol. A taxi or bus ride is much cheaper than a DUI citation.
• Take the keys. Do not let a friend drive impaired.
• Mind your meds. Heed the warning labels on prescription medicine bottles because even legal drugs can affect your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.
• Dial *FHP (*347) on your cell phone to report an impaired driver.
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ Traffic Crash Statistics Report 2009, Florida saw more crashes during the month of March than during any other month during the past five years (2005 through 2009). There were 224 fatal crashes in March 2009.
For more information about the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, visit their website at www.flhsmv.gov or follow them on Twitter @FDHSMV or facebook.
Photo credits: © 2011 Historic City News staff photographer