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May 2017
 
In this Issue
Plan Your Memorial Day Weekend Travel with Florida 511 |
Florida 511 Users Have Sought Help from the State’s System 30 Million Times |
Global Youth Traffic Safety Month Promotes Safe Summer Driving For Teens |
Share the Road with Motorcyclists and Bicyclists |
Florida Events in May | 511 Photo of the Month
 
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Plan Your Memorial Day Weekend Travel with Florida 511

Florida residents and visitors heading to a parade, barbeque or favorite getaway spot for the Memorial Day weekend can get help navigating roads from the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) Florida 511 Traveler Information System.

Motorists can minimize delays by using the real-time traffic information provided by Florida 511. Before leaving or heading back home, drivers can check the free Florida 511 mobile app, available on Google Play or the Apple App Store, to arrive safely with fewer delays. Drivers can also use the app to select an alternate route if necessary.

Travelers can check the interactive roadway map on FL511.com for traffic incident information in English or Spanish, and to view roadway cameras showing current driving conditions.

FDOT encourages all drivers to register on the website or mobile app for a free My Florida 511 personalized services account to create and save door-to-door routes from their house or hotel to the beach, a restaurant or other favorite destination. Each route includes travel time estimates, traffic incident information and the ability to set up custom email or text alerts.

Additional ways to receive traffic information from Florida 511 include calling 511 toll-free from any phone in the state and following one or more of the statewide, regional or roadway-specific Twitter feeds (#FL511).

FDOT encourages all drivers to check Florida 511 before leaving or have a passenger check to avoid using a phone while driving.

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Florida 511 Users Have Sought Help from
the State’s System 30 Million Times
Florida 511 Users Have Sought Help from the State’s System 30 Million Times

As the Florida 511 Traveler Information System grows, it continues to add users and reach new milestones. The free information service, provided by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), broke the 30-million mark this month.

That means motorists and residents have visited the Florida 511 website, phoned 511 toll-free or checked the free Florida 511 mobile app (available on Apple App Store or Google Play) to seek information on traffic conditions 30 million times. That’s an average of 3.8 million times per year since the statewide system launched June 9, 2009.

More and more residents and visitors are relying on Florida 511 for traffic information for daily trips and emergencies. When Hurricane Matthew skirted Florida’s east coast in October 2016, usage of the Florida 511 website peaked with 10,000 simultaneous users. During that month, there were more than 300,000 visits to the website.

“Florida 511 is a tool for people to manage their time and busy lives more efficiently,” Russell Allen, FDOT ITS Program Development Engineer, said. “We encourage people to check traffic conditions in their area or on a planned route before they get on the road so they know what to expect, and have time to choose an alternate route.”

The Florida 511 system continues to add platforms and services, including new features requested by regular users, such as new app features and data sources.

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Global Youth Traffic Safety Month Promotes
Safe Summer Driving for Teens
Global Youth Traffic Safety Month Promotes Safe Summer Driving For Teens

Car crashes are the number one killer of teens.

Moreover, the summer months are the riskiest for teenage drivers. The months of May through August are the deadliest for teens ages 15 to 19, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).

To increase driving safety awareness among teen drivers in Florida, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is joining youth organizations across the United States in May to support Global Youth Traffic Safety Month, an annual campaign started in 2007 by the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) to keep youth safe on the roads.

Teen drivers report an increase in activities during the summer that correlate with a higher crash risk, according to research compiled by NOYS from AAA, NHTSA and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

  • 65 percent drive more often
  • 52 percent have teen passengers present more often
  • 50 percent drive in the dark more often
  • 41 percent drive for extended periods of time more often
  • 20 percent speed more often

FDOT encourages teen drivers to use caution, be vigilant on the roadways and follow a few simple tips to stay safe.

  • Avoid all distractions including texting, eating and loud music.
  • Wear a seat belt — EVERY RIDE, EVERY TIME.
  • Drive at or below the speed limit.
  • Limit the number of passengers in the car.
  • Always pull over to make a call or text a friend.
  • Avoid drowsy driving by getting enough rest.
  • Never get in the car with someone who has been drinking.
  • Plan your route with the Florida 511 Traveler Information System.

For more information, visit Global Youth Traffic Safety Month on the NOYS website and look for #TrafficSafeYouth on social media throughout the month.

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Share the Road with Motorcyclists and Bicyclists
Take Florida 511 out to the Ballgames

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is recognizing Motorcycle and Bicycle Safety Awareness Month by reminding motorists to share the road.

This is especially important in Florida. In 2015, the state recorded the highest number of motorcycle and bicycle fatalities in the nation.

FDOT has partnered with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association and Ride Smart Florida to highlight this important safety message.

Motorists should never share a lane with a motorcycle and keep at least a four-second buffer zone when following one. In bad weather or slippery conditions, drivers should stay even farther back from motorcycles, which stop much more quickly than cars and trucks. Drivers should remain alert because motorcycles can slow down by down-shifting or easing off the throttle without activating brake lights. In addition, cars and trucks should not pass a motorcycle with only a few feet of clearance because larger vehicles can create wind pressure that could force a rider to lose control.

In Florida, a bicycle is legally defined as a vehicle and has all of the privileges, rights and responsibilities of a motor vehicle operator on all public roads except expressways. Florida law gives bicyclists a minimum of three feet of clearance when driving alongside or passing. Motorists are reminded not to use high-beam headlights when a bicyclist is approaching. Drivers should yield to any bicyclist in the bike lane when turning and always make the turn behind the rider. Drivers should also glance back to check for bicyclists approaching from behind before opening the door of a parked car.

Riders who use their motorcycle or bicycle for commuting are encouraged to check the interactive road map on FL511.com before leaving for real-time traffic information along their planned route. Riders also can register on the website or free mobile app for a My Florida 511 personalized services account to create custom door-to-door routes to favorite destinations and receive route-specific text and email alerts about travel speeds, travel time estimates and traffic information.

For more safety information throughout the month, visit the Share the Road driving safety campaign on the Florida DHSMV website and look for #SharetheRoad on social media.

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Florida Events in May

There is no shortage of things to do in Florida during May. If you are travelling to one of these events, visit FL511.com before leaving to plan your route for a safe arrival and to experience fewer delays.

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May 25–28
Megacon Image
MegaCon Orlando (Orlando)

The Southeast’s largest comics, sci-fi, horror and anime event will make its return to the Orange County Convention Center this Memorial Day weekend. The four-day event features celebrity photo sessions, panels and a costume contest. For more information, visit the website.
May 26–28
Country Fest 500
Country Fest 500 (Daytona Beach)

Some of the top names in country music will perform before more than 75,000 fans during this Memorial Day weekend event at Daytona International Speedway. Attendees also can enjoy: a select menu sold from food booths and food trucks, carnival rides, arcade games, and the Fan Zone. For more information, visit the website.
May 27
Margarita Festival Image
Tampa Bay Margarita Festival (Tampa)

The 5th Annual Tampa Bay Margarita Festival at Curtis Hixon Park in downtown Tampa begins with a Margarita Run in the morning and ends with a Memorial Day fireworks celebration at night. The festival also features tequila tasting, numerous restaurants and a Cool Zone. Live music will play throughout the event. For more information, visit the website.
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May photo of the month
Camera icon 511 Photo of the Month

I-95 Road Ranger (Courtesy of FDOT District Six)

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