HOLT, Fla., Dec. 19, 2017—Holiday travel this season is estimated to be at its highest ever according to the American Automobile Association.
AAA forecasts 107.3 million Americans will travel by planes, trains and automobiles during the year-end holiday period from Dec. 23 through Jan. 1.
Travel volume has increased 3.1 percent from last year, according to AAA, and 2017 marks the ninth consecutive year of rising year-end holiday travel.
Since 2005, total year-end holiday travel volume has grown by 21.6 million, an increase of more than 25 percent.
“More expensive gas prices are not swaying holiday revelers to stay home,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president, Travel and Publishing. “In fact, across the board this year, travel has increased year-over-year for every major holiday weekend—Memorial Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving—and we project the same for the year-end holiday period.”
For the 97.4 million Americans traveling by automobile, travel times during the holiday week could be as much as three times longer than the normal trip, according to AAA.
Based on historical and recent travel trends, drivers will likely experience the greatest amount of congestion before the holiday week—Dec. 20 and 21—in the late afternoon as commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers.
The 90 percent of holiday travelers choosing to drive will find the most expensive year-end gas prices since 2014.
This December’s national average price is $2.47 (Dec. 1-13), which is 28 cents more than last December.
The good news is that AAA does expect the average to drop at least another five cents by year-end, saving motorists a few pennies at the pump.
Additionally, the Florida Highway Patrol is focusing on safe holiday travel and is participating in the nationwide Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign that runs through New Year’s Day.
FHP will concentrate its enforcement on impaired driving throughout Florida in an effort to save lives this holiday season.
“Impaired driving continues to be a priority for law enforcement in the state,” said FHP director, Col. Gene S. Spaulding. “In an effort to get drunk and drugged drivers off Florida roads, FHP troopers will aggressively enforce impaired driving laws to ensure motorists and their families arrive to their destinations safely.”
All uniformed FHP personnel, including those normally assigned to administrative duties, will be patrolling interstates and other major state roads.
Auxiliary troopers will also volunteer to augment the FHP during the holiday period.
The FHP’s increased presence throughout Florida is designed to deter traffic violations and enhance services to motorists who break down or who need other assistance while traveling.
AAA and FHP news releases