W.H.A.L.E. Check Program

W.H.A.L.E. CHECK Program

Welcome to W.H.A.L.E. (We Have A Little Emergency) Check, Florida’s child passenger safety program. Our widely popular and nationally recognized W.H.A.L.E. Check campaign continues as a highly requested and distributed piece on important child occupant protection and car seat safety.  W.H.A.L.E. Check is made available statewide as a digital download courtesy of District Two.

W.H.A.L.E. Check is a child passenger safety education and identification program for parents and caregivers. In the event of an automobile crash, children are often too young to identify themselves or provide helpful information. Parents/guardians are encouraged to complete the sticker and place on the back of the child’s car seat to provide vital contact information for emergency personnel. They are to stick the two smaller labels on each side of the car seat. These alert rescuers that the occupant is participating in W.H.A.L.E. Check.


Click here to download the W.H.A.L.E. Check as a one-page, printable PDF flyer to distribute at car seat checks, traffic safety events, daycare centers, pediatrician offices, government agencies and hospitals throughout Florida.


Click here to download a social media graphic to help promote the W.H.A.L.E. Check program.


Watch this short informational video about the W.H.A.L.E. Check program:


The W.H.A.L.E. Check informational flyer also includes great child safety seat tips and guidelines! There are five smart safety tips to help prevent injuries in case of a car crash:

  1. WEAR YOUR SAFETY BELT: Studies show that if you wear your seat belt, your kids will too.
  2.  Follow Manufacturer’s instructions: Always check the manual for both your
    car and the child safety seat for proper installation guidelines.
  3. Seat strapped in tight: You should not be able to move the car seat more than one inch
    in any direction at the belt path, and always use the top tether when forward facing.
  4. Chest clip at armpit level & Harness Snug: Straps should be tight enough
    so that you cannot pinch the fabric of the harness at the shoulders.
  5. Back Seat is Safest: Children age 13 and under should ride in the back seat.
    Older children no longer need a special seat if their legs bend comfortably at the
    seat’s edge with their back resting flat against the back of the seat.

We follow these American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations and want all children safeguarded in the right car seat!

  • Birth – 12 Months: Babies under age 1 should always ride in a rear-facing car seat. There are different types of rear-facing car seats: Infant-only seats can only be used rear-facing. Convertible and 3-in-1 car seats typically have higher height and weight limits for the rear-facing position, allowing you to keep your child rear-facing for a longer period of time.
  • 1 – 3 Years: Toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car seat with a harness as long as possible – until they reach the top height or weight limit of the seat, typically around 35 to 45 pounds.
  • 4 – 7 Years: Young children should ride in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until they reach the top height or weight limit of the seat – typically between 40 and 60 pounds.
  • 8 – 12 Years: Children should ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until they are at least 4 feet 9 inches tall. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lies snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach, and the shoulder belt lies snug across the shoulder and chest, not over the neck or face.
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Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety Tips

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, more people are riding their bikes or going out for walks while practicing social distancing. Your Traffic Safety Team wants you to stay safe during this time by following these pedestrian and bicyclist safety tips!

Pedestrian/Bicyclist Safety Tip
Wear bright colors. Increase your visibility and use bike lights/reflectors.
Wear bright colors. Increase your visibility and use bike lights/reflectors.

With so many people heading outdoors for a bike ride, motorists – please ALWAYS WATCH for bicyclists on the road. Bicyclists, wear bright colors or reflective gear so you are visible.


Pedestrian/Bicyclist Safety Tips
See and be seen. Make eye contact with drivers when crossing streets.
See and be seen. Make eye contact with drivers when crossing streets.

Walking is the perfect social distancing activity! Lace up and get moving, but be sure to SEE and BE SEEN. Make eye contact with drivers. Drivers, please look in all directions for people on foot! 


Pedestrian/Bicyclist Safety Tip
Be predictable. Use sidewalks where provided. Cross streets where it is legal to do so.
Be predictable. Use sidewalks where provided. Cross streets where it is legal to do so.

It’s important when riding your bicycle to be predictable. Use sidewalks and cross where it is legal. Drivers, phone down, eyes up.


Pedestrian/Bicyclist Safety Tip
Stop! Look left, right, and left for traffic.
Stop! Look left, right, and left for traffic.

Going for a walk is a great way to get fresh air and keep from going stir-crazy, while practicing social distancing. Look left, right, and left again for traffic. Drivers, please drive with care as more people hit the pavement than usual.


Pedestrian/Bicyclist Safety Tip
Walk defensively. Be prepared for the unexpected.
Walk defensively. Be prepared for the unexpected.

In addition to staying 6 feet away from others on your walks, don’t forget to walk defensively and be prepared for the unexpected. Drivers, please remember to focus on driving and eliminate distractions.


Pedestrian/Bicyclist Safety Tip
Be careful in parking lots. They can be more hazardous than streets!
Be careful in parking lots. They can be more hazardous than streets!

The groceries stores are open, and many restaurants are open for take-out. This means busy parking lots – some that have even been modified with cones/tents for curbside pick-up. Be careful – these areas can be more dangerous than streets! Drivers, please proceed with caution and be on the lookout for pedestrians. 

Walking and bike riding are great ways to stay active and healthy. Exercising is also a great tool for people of all ages and improves driving skills, especially older drivers. To learn more, check out our Defensive Driving Tools.

Exercise and Fitness Benefits:

• Enhances mobility, flexibility and balance
• Helps maintain or lose weight
• Reduces impact of illness and chronic disease 
• Better sleep and more energy
• Improves mood and self-confidence
• Boosts cognitive function

Click here for more great pedestrian safety tips for walkers and drivers.

Click here for important bicycle safety tips and resources for cyclists and motorists.

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Defensive Driving

FDOT District Two Community Traffic Safety Program presents: Three Defensive Driving Tools to Avoid Impact, by Jeff Hohlstein, a Traffic Safety Team member in Clay County, Florida. From 2009 through 2016 Jeff was a Traffic Cycling Instructor certified by multiple organizations. There he learned a lot about vehicles’ next actions without looking at the driver. He also adopted OODA, a quick decision-making tool originally developed for combat by Retired Colonel John “Forty-Second” Boyd, USAF. The OODA Loop is easily adopted to defensive driving, to help you see and avoid conflicts before they become crashes.

Learn about the OODA Loop: Observe • Orient • Decide • Act and other defensive driving tips to help reduce crashes on our roadways in this educational traffic safety video.

Downloadable version of the video as a PDF presentation file for viewing and sharing:

Read the complete article, “Three Defensive Driving Tools to Avoid Great Impact” below:

safe driver

Jeff Hohlstein

What do OODA, Three Mississippi’s, and a vehicle’s front wheels have in common? They can all be defensive driving tools that will alert and prepare you for potential conflict situations and avoid a crash.

In another year or so, I’ll enter that age range of 78–85, when most people decide to quit driving. Over the years, I’ve learned some tools that I hope will allow me to drive safely far beyond that range. I’m not a certified driving instructor, so I’ll describe the tools and how I use them. How you choose to use them is up to you.

The OODA Loop: See and avoid trouble

So what’s an OODA? The OODA Loop is a rapid decision-making tool developed by Retired Colonel John Boyd, USAF. In combat, OODA is used to totally confuse and demoralize the enemy. In defensive driving, OODA is a disciplined way of thinking that helps one see and avoid trouble. OODA stands for Observe > Orient > Decide > Act, and then do it again.

It sounds like common sense, doesn’t it? But then there’s a joke—Two crows were sitting in a tree above a corn field. Crow One said, “Let’s fly down and eat some corn.” Crow Two, “We can’t. There’s a man standing in the field.” Crow One, “That’s a scarecrow. If it was a man, he’d be looking at his cell phone.”

How many times do we see people who aren’t even observing? And, as we age, we need a conscious, disciplined decision-making tool to drive safely. OODA can be that tool. Let’s start with an easy example.

Three Mississippi’s: Three second rule Continue Reading

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Recipes for the Road

The FDOT District Two Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) is proud to share the 22nd Annual Recipes for the Road. This four-page recipe card is filled with non-alcoholic drinks, mocktails, appetizers and sweet treats along with traffic safety tips. Our goal is to help reduce drinking and driving and alcohol-related traffic crashes this holiday season and throughout the year.

22nd Annual Recipes for the Road Bi-Fold Card
Download this FREE Printable PDF to Share

order-form

Recipes for the Road Cards – Order Online Now

See below for over two decades of Recipes for the Road editions. Check out our Mocktail drink and food recipe cards and videos!

Recipes for the Road is part of our Celebrate Safely, Designate a Driver program where local restaurants and bars provide free non-alcoholic beverages to patrons who are the designated driver (AKA the “DD”). Together these printed materials and online resources from FDOT’s District Two CTST and local partners work to save lives and prevent injuries in our community. Click here for more information about Celebrate Safely.

Be Responsible – Do Not Drink and Drive

Continue Reading

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Celebrate Safely, Designate a Driver

2019 Celebrate Safely Artwork

The FDOT District Two Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) is excited to announce a new design for its Celebrate Safely, Designate a Driver campaign. The popular public service initiative was created to help reduce alcohol-related traffic deaths and injuries during the holiday season.

During the week of the Christmas holiday through New Year’s Day, establishments that are participating in the Celebrate Safely program serve non-alcoholic beverages free-of-charge to patrons who identify themselves as the designated driver.

Materials provided include posters to be displayed in the restaurant/bar, stickers for servers and bartenders to wear, and beverage coasters. The Celebrate Safely, Designate a Driver stickers are also great for sticking on menus and bill holders.

order-form

Celebrate Safely, Designate a Driver packages for bars and restaurants – Order Online Now

The campaign’s “Drive Safe and Drive Sober” message is key at any time of year, and especially during the holidays. If you’ve been drinking, celebrate safely. Designate a driver, call a cab/ride-share/Uber/Lyft, or spend the night where you are.  Make sure to check out the following:
Recipes for the Road: non-alcoholic drinks and safety tips
Mocktails: drink and food recipe cards and videos
Seasons of Safety: traffic safety-themed holiday card collection
Impaired Driving: traffic safety page with more resources and materials

IT’S NOT ALL FUN IN THE SUN

In Florida, you can get a DUI (driving under the influence) if you drive or are in physical control of a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher – regardless of whether your driving ability was actually impaired. (Sometimes the term “blood alcohol level” (BAL) is used instead of BAC.) However, a driver can also get a DUI for driving while impaired to “some degree” as the result of ingesting alcohol, drugs, or any combination of these.

While most DUIs involve driving, it’s possible to get a DUI in Florida without actually moving your vehicle. Florida law makes it illegal not only to drive a vehicle under the influence, but also to “operate” or be in “actual physical control” of a vehicle in such a state of impairment. So, for instance, an intoxicated motorist who’s found by police slumped over the wheel with keys in hand could be prosecuted for DUI even though the car never moved.

And like all other states, Florida has “implied consent” laws that generally require all motorists lawfully arrested for DUI to submit to chemical testing (blood, breath, or urine) for the purpose of determining the amount of alcohol or drugs in their systems.

Every day, 36 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver.  This is one death every 41 minutes.  The annual cost of alcohol-related crashes totals more than $51 billion.

Important safety steps we can all take:

  • Before drinking alcohol, designate a non-drinking driver within your group.
  • Don’t let your friends drive impaired.
  • If you have been drinking or using drugs, get a ride home or call a taxi.
  • If you’re hosting a party where alcohol will be served, offer alcohol-free beverages and make sure all guests leave with a sober driver.
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