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The Villages
Saturday, September 30, 2023

FHP warns you’d better ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’

August 18 marked the beginning of the 2023 “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign. This national campaign, led by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, runs through Sept. 4, and places emphasis on driving unimpaired as summer ends and as Labor Day weekend commences. Historically, this time of year sees a spike in impaired driving fatalities, and the goal of this campaign is to increase awareness and enforcement efforts to reduce these numbers.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), and its division of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), are joining law enforcement agencies across the nation to promote this initiative and carry out the collective mission of preserving lives. With an increased presence throughout Florida during this period, FHP is prepared and ready to take impaired drivers off the road. 

While impaired driving is highly preventable, the numbers prove it is an ongoing problem. In Florida during the 2022 Labor Day holiday weekend, over 50 percent of all fatalities that occurred were a result of an impaired driver – an increase of over 25 percent from the 2021 holiday weekend.

“There is absolutely no excuse to get behind the wheel impaired, and the devastation, pain, and death it can cause is permanent,” said FLHSMV Executive Director Dave Kerner. “The Florida Highway Patrol is passionate about taking impaired drivers off the road and to jail, and they are fully empowered to take whatever action is necessary to keep the public protected from the harm impaired drivers cause.”

“FHP Troopers and our law enforcement partners across the state will be aggressively looking for impaired drivers,” said Colonel Gary Howze, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “There will be zero tolerance for impaired drivers – always have a designated driver or a ride-share service available.”

In addition to damaging others’ lives, driving impaired can result in a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) conviction.

Penalties for DUI include:

  • For any DUI conviction, one’s driver’s license will be revoked for a minimum of 180 days.
  • If one refuses to take a required roadside test at the time of arrest, their license will be automatically suspended for one year.
  • Fines for DUI can range from $500 to $5,000 with mandatory DUI school education.
  • Penalties can include an ignition interlock device, community service, probation or imprisonment.
  • DUI convictions must remain on one’s record for 75 years.

FLHSMV and FHP encourage the public to exercise sound judgment year-round and do their part to save lives. Report impaired drivers by contacting law enforcement or dialing *FHP (*347).

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