National School Bus Safety Week

This year’s National School Bus Safety Week (NSBSW) takes place October 18-22, 2021. The Northeast Florida Community Traffic Safety Program is highlighting school bus safety tips and information to share. Please join us in advocating for school bus safety to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities on our roadways.

Every year, approximately 440,000 public school buses travel more than 4 billion miles and daily transport 24 million children to and from schools and school-related activities. School buses account for an estimated 10 billion student trips each year.*

We would also like to thank all bus drivers and also acknowledge the shortage in our local communities. We appreciate everyone working together to make sure children get to school and back home safely. 

School Bus Safety Rules for Drivers

  • Learn and obey the school bus laws in your state.
  • Be sure to acquaint yourself with the flashing light system that school bus drivers use to alert motorists.
  • Yellow flashing lights mean that the school bus is preparing to stop. Motorists should slow down and be ready to stop their vehicles.
  • Red flashing lights and an extended stop arm indicate that the school bus has stopped, and children are boarding or exiting.
  • On a two-lane road, all vehicles in both directions must stop.
  • On a divided highway with a raised median, unpaved space, or a physical barrier of at least five feet, vehicles traveling in the opposite direction are not required to stop.
  • On a divided highway where no median or barrier exists, all vehicles are mandated to stop.

School Bus Safety Reminders for Students

  • Arrive early.
  • Don’t push or cut in line.
  • Stay out of the “danger zone,” 10 steps away from the bus.
  • Wait for the bus driver to open the door before trying to get on.
  • Keep aisle clear of your backpack, bag, or books.
  • Talk quietly during the entire bus ride.
  • Keep your hands, arms, and head inside the bus at all times.
  • Walk in front of the bus to cross the street, never behind it.

National Coalition for Safer Roads introduced the theme Expect the Unexpected. Know the Danger Zone. Click here to check out what they have to offer this year.

Additional School Bus Safety Information and Resources for Drivers and Children:

*source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Walk Safe Activity Card

Since last year’s Florida Mobility Week through this October’s Pedestrian Safety Month, the FDOT District 2 Community Traffic Safety Program distributed 15,000 Walk Safe activity cards. They are available for free at all 18 county local library systems in Northeast Florida.

Walk Safe – Pedestrian Activity Card with Safety Tips for Drivers and Walkers

This Walk Safe activity card is double-sided with a walking wise crossword puzzle and a walk the path to safety maze. Great for kids, parents, teachers, and homeschoolers. Libraries are a wonderful place for key traffic safety education and information resources for our CTSP to distribute at no cost to our local communities. Pedestrians and drivers should always pay attention, put phones down, keep eyes up, look, and listen.

We have also created this free digital, one-sided 8.5×11 Walk Safe, Pedestrian Safety resource available here for downloading, printing and sharing with your community.

Remember to Always Be Cautious and Pay Attention!

Walk Safe, a pedestrian safety and educational resource, is part of a series. The Ride Safe, Drive Safe and Bike Safe pieces are available online below. Each piece has a different activity or puzzle with important traffic safety tips and reminders. Our goal is to help reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities on our roadways through education and community outreach.

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

W.H.A.L.E. (We Have A Little Emergency) CHECK – Child Passenger Safety Program

W.H.A.L.E. Check was first introduced in May of 2002 in Jacksonville, Florida by Northeast Florida Department of Transportation District Two’s Community Traffic Safety Program. W.H.A.L.E. Check is a child passenger safety education and identification program for parents and caregivers in Florida. 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 it on the back of the child’s car seat to provide vital contact information to emergency personnel. We suggest users 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.

Our widely popular and nationally recognized W.H.A.L.E. Check campaign remains as a highly requested and distributed piece on important child occupant protection and car seat safety. Almost 300,000 printed W.H.A.L.E. Checks have been distributed in Northeast Florida since being launched. Over 1,656 digital versions have been viewed or downloaded from this website and have received over 10,000 social media W.H.A.L.E. Check impressions just in the last several years. Watch the video below to learn more about how the W.H.A.L.E. Check program works.


Free Resources: Printable Flyer and Social Media Graphic

Available statewide in Florida as a digital download courtesy of FDOT District Two: 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 this CPS social media image to help promote the W.H.A.L.E. Check program. Don’t forget to tag us!
@trafficsafetyteam on Facebook and Instagram 
@trafficsafetyfl on Twitter and Pinterest

District Two Community Traffic Safety Teams may click here to order printed W.H.A.L.E. Check flyers online now.


The W.H.A.L.E. Check informational flyer also includes child safety seat advice and guidelines. Here are five 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.

CTSP Flashback FAQ Videos

Take a step back in time with us! From our video vault archive, we produced a new Community Traffic Safety Program (CTSP) video series. Our Flashback FAQs showcase some timeless Traffic Safety Team talk. After more than 20 years, these clips provide insight into the essence of the CTSP in Northeast Florida that still apply today. 

Watch these six Flashback FAQ videos and learn the answers to some common questions we receive.

FAQ #1: What is the Community Traffic Safety Program?
A:
The premise of the program is local communities, solving local problems with state assistance. Our mission is to reduce traffic-related crashes, injuries and fatalities on our roadways. The CTSP is a volunteer organization sponsored by the Florida Department of Transportation. Traffic Safety Team members work together to develop solutions. We commend our partners for their active participation and on-going commitment to traffic safety in our 18 county district. We invite you to be a part of the solution. Help us promote safety on our roadways and move toward zero fatalities.

FAQ #2: What is a Community Traffic Safety Team?
A:
Community Traffic Safety Teams (CTSTs) are locally based groups of highway safety advocates who are committed to solving traffic safety problems through a comprehensive, multi-jurisdictional, multi-disciplinary approach. Members include city, county, state, private industry and citizens. The common goal of each CTST is to reduce the number and severity of traffic crashes within their community.

FAQ #3: How does the CTST solve traffic safety issues?
A:
Northeast Florida CTST members are the eyes and ears on the road, working together to develop solutions and solve traffic safety issues on our roadways. CTSTs are made up of what is termed the four E’s: Education, Enforcement, Engineers and Emergency Medical Services. All of these disciplines add to the richness of each team and allow broad collaboration in the solving of local traffic safety concerns related to drivers, passengers, vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and roadways.

FAQ #4: Who are the members of a Community Traffic Safety Team?
A:
FDOT District Two CTST members include city, county, state, private industry and citizens. Members are multi-disciplinary – integrating efforts of the four “E” disciplines that work in highway safety, including Engineering, Education/Public Information, Enforcement, and Emergency Medical Services, along with local community partners, businesses, officials and citizens.

FAQ #5: What is the W H A L E Check, Child Passenger Safety Program
A:
W.H.A.L.E. (We Have A Little Emergency) CHECK – Child Passenger Safety Program was first introduced in May of 2002 in Jacksonville, Florida by the Northeast Florida Department of Transportation District Two’s Community Traffic Safety Program. W.H.A.L.E. Check is a child passenger safety education and identification program for parents and caregivers in Florida. In the event of an automobile crash, children are often too young to identify themselves or provide helpful information. The W.H.A.L.E. Check informational flyer also includes child safety seat guidelines and safety tips to help prevent injuries in case of a car crash.

FAQ #6: What is the Celebrate Safely, Designate a Driver Program?
A:
The Northeast Florida Department of Transportation District Two Community Traffic Safety Program’s annual Celebrate Safely, Designate a Driver campaign was created to help reduce alcohol-related traffic deaths and injuries throughout the holiday season. During the week of Christmas through New Year’s Day, local establishments are promoting the Celebrate Safely, Designate a Driver program by displaying the materials provided. The 11×17 full-color posters will be displayed in neighborhood restaurants and bars. The stickers are for servers and bartenders to wear, and for sticking onto table-talkers, menus, and bill holders. (NOTE: Due to the hardships and challenges many local establishments are battling with COVID-19, we are not requiring them to provide free nonalcoholic drinks.)

Traffic Safety Wise Words

The Northeast Florida Community Traffic Safety Program (CTSP) launched the Wise Words safety campaign in 2018 with team member Walt Duffany’s Walt’s Wise Words. Walt began working with the District Two Community Traffic Safety Team when he was FDOT Lake City shop supervisor. He retired from FDOT in 2015 and now serves as Deputy Reservist Coordinator for Columbia County Fire Rescue as a volunteer. Walt and his family moved to Florida from Watertown, New York, in 1986, where he worked for the Town of Adams highway department. He is also a Navy veteran and spent time in Vietnam. Thank you, Walt, for all of your clever safety messages and for your service!

When the campaign launched with Walt’s Wise Words, the graphic consisted of a car with a bumper sticker with a Wise Words slogan. It has since morphed into a campaign with colorful images, graphics and catchy phrases which are all original and created by District Two CTST team members. The traffic safety Wise Words are short, smart messages targeted to drivers and focused on a variety of topics like distracted, impaired, tailgating, turn signals, and buckling up. Additional traffic safety campaigns were created for Work Zone Awareness, Occupant Protection, Distracted Driving, Safe Distancing Driving, Stop on Red, and Impaired Driving, among others. 

Share Traffic Safety Wise Words

Be a Community Traffic Safety Team “Virtual Volunteer”. Share these Wise Words on your social media accounts. Don’t forget to tag us! Facebook / Instagram@trafficsafetyteamTwitter / Pinterest / LinkedIn@trafficsafetyfl