Florida Launches 5-1-1 Traffic Hotline

If you are planning to hit the highway in Florida to visit family for the Thanksgiving holiday you'll want to jot down the number 5-1-1.

The new hotline gives travelers an instant update on accidents and backups on all major highways in Florida.

FAMU student Marchae Ivory makes the eight-hour drive home to Miami several times a year. She's encountered her share of accidents and construction backups and would gladly pick up the phone to try to avoid all that.

Marchae says, "Of course I would use it, of course, yes, I have to know what's going on because I don't want to be in another three or four-hour backup. It's not good."

Florida's Department of Transportation just unveiled a free hotline. You can dial 5-1-1 on your cell phone or from home first to find out if there any accidents or construction delays on your favorite route.

George Gilhooley with the Florida Department of Transportation says, "There's nothing worse than sitting on the interstate and you're just sitting there and you have no idea if it's a five minute delay or a two hour delay, because that's going to drive the decisions you make. That next interchange, if I know it's going to clear right ahead, I'm going to stay on the interstate. If it's an hour delay and I know another way to go, it's time to go."

The free service allows callers to check conditions and travel times on all major interstates, highways and turnpikes. It's good news for Ernest Firth who was filling up before a trip home to Destin.

Ernest says, "I go back and forth quite a bit, and with the holidays coming up there's going to be quite a bit of traffic, so it'll help out."

This is free from any home phone or cellular phone, but if you call on your cell your regular minute charges apply.