Buckle Up Religiously

If you knew something you could do every day that would save you and your family from possible loss of life or serious injury, wouldn’t you do it?

Be prepared and protected by buckling up every time you get in the car! Wear your safety seat belt for your family, for yourself, and for life.

Buckling up is still the most effective way to save lives and reduce injuries from crashes on our roadways, and did you know…

  • You are twice as likely to be severely injured or killed when unbuckled.
  • A child unrestrained in a 30 mph crash is the same as a child dropped from a third-story window.
  • Chances are that someone you know will be involved in a vehicle crash this year.

One Click Does the Trick … wear your seat belt and secure all children in a proper child safety seat.

Buckle Up Religiously has been part of Northeast Florida’s ongoing occupant protection campaign for more than a decade. In 2020, we designed a new graphic with a buckled safety belt and angel wings. Community partners, churches, athletic groups, and organizations displayed these posters and banners throughout our 18 counties in District Two.

Buckle Up Religiously outreach and education pieces created by the FDOT District Two’s Community Traffic Safety Program.

These are popular posters to display, tip cards to hand out, and flyers to insert in local church bulletins. Click on a graphic to download and print to distribute or share on social media. Please tag us on Facebook and Instagram @trafficsafetyteam and Twitter and LinkedIn @trafficsafetyfl and hashtag #BuckleUpReligiously

In addition, we hope you will explore and share more traffic safety information, tips, and resources. Please visit the following:

Move Over or Slow Down

January is Move Over Month in Florida. The Northeast Florida Department of Transportation District Two Community Traffic Safety Program reminds all motorists to obey Florida’s Move Over Law which helps protect those who protect us while they provide important services in a dangerous environment – the side of the road.

Move Over or Slow Down
Move over or slow down for stopped emergency and public service vehicles
Slow down if unable to move over for stopped emergency and public service vehicles
Pull over for moving emergency vehicles

In addition to first responders, this law also applies to other public servants and roadside workers. Drivers typically know to move over for law enforcement, fire rescue and emergency medical services. Many still do not realize the law requires them to move over for sanitation, utility, wrecker, maintenance, and construction vehicles. Basically, if motorists see a service vehicle on the side of the road with a flashing warning lights, they need to change lanes or slow down.

The Florida requirement expanding to cover these additional roadway service providers went into effect in July 2021. Preliminary data shows that in 2021, there were 191 crashes and more than 14,000 citations issued for motorists failing to move over in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV). Obeying Florida’s Move Over law will help ensure all personnel working along our roadways get home safely.

Florida Law, Move Over and Slow Down for Stopped Emergency and Service Vehicles

Move Over

  • As soon as it is safe to do so, vacate the lane closest to the stationary emergency vehicle, sanitation vehicle, utility service vehicle, wrecker, or road and bridge maintenance or construction vehicle when driving on an interstate highway or other highway with two or more lanes.
  • Always signal your intention to change lanes.
  • Be prepared to allow those who are attempting to move over into the next lane.

Slow Down

  • If moving over cannot be safely accomplished, slow down to a speed that is 20 mph less than the posted speed limit when the posted speed limit is 25 mph or greater; or travel at 5 mph when the posted speed limit is 20 mph or less when driving on a two-lane road.

Violating the Move Over law puts you and others at risk, and a citation will result in a fine, fees, and points on your driving record. To read the Florida Statue, see 316.126 – Operation of vehicles and actions of pedestrians on approach of an authorized emergency, sanitation, or utility service vehicle.

Pull Over for Moving Emergency Vehicles

Motorists should always remember to pay attention while driving and pull over for emergency vehicles approaching from behind. Help protect moving emergency vehicles by:

  • Yielding the right of way
  • Moving to the closest, safety edge of roadway
  • Clearing intersection
  • Remaining stopped until the vehicle has passed

Mocktails • Recipes • Safety Tips

Seasonal Mocktails, Recipes and Traffic Safety Tips

These delicious nonalcoholic drink mocktails, recipes, and safety tips are part of the Celebrate Safely, Designate a Driver, and Recipes for the Road campaigns. The FDOT District Two Community Traffic Safety Program has produced unique mocktails and shared nonalcoholic drinks from local Northeast Florida restaurants and bars since 1997. In 2017, we launched our first recipe videos for the 20th Annual Recipes for the Road edition.

We hope you watch, share, and enjoy our alcohol-free drink recipes, appetizer and meal recipes, and safe ABCs of partying tips below. EVEN ONE DRINK of alcohol can slow your reflexes and reaction time, reduce your ability to see clearly, and makes you less alert. Be a part of a safety culture focused on preventing injuries and fatalities on our roads.

Florida Recipes for all your Winter Holidays and New Year Refreshments

Grasshopper Mocha Mocktail
Peach Bella Bellini
Cran-Raspberry Holiday Punch

Nonalcoholic beverages are becoming ever more popular. Trendy virgin cocktails are great for office parties, family gatherings, and social events. There are health benefits to reducing or eliminating alcohol in your diet. Mocktails offer a tasty alternative for designated drivers. Awareness months like Sober October and Dry January promote this healthier lifestyle.

Pineapple Mock-Margarita
Strawberry Basil Infused Water
Sparkling Cherry Love Potion
Candy Cane Mocktini
Nojito Mojito
Sparkling Strawberry Mandarin Mocktail
Hot Citrus Cider
Dreamy Hot Cocoa Recipe and The Marshmallow Snowman
Green Grinch Punch Recipe and Grinch Kabob Instructions

Food Recipes

Sweet & Salty White Chocolate Snack Mix
Festive Holiday Cranberry Brie Appetizer Bites
Chicken Enchilada Quinoa Soup
Cheesy Breadstick Twists
Meatball Slider Pull-Apart Appetizer

The A.B.C. Recipe for Hosting a Safe Party

A – Alcohol Awareness

  • Always serve food with alcoholic beverages.
  • Food slows down the absorption rate of alcohol into the body.
  • Offer non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Make guests feel welcome, no matter what they choose to drink.

B – Buffet

  • Serve protein-rich and starchy foods throughout the evening.
  • By eating first, partygoers may drink less, and the food will help slow the absorption of alcohol into their bloodstream.
  • As the hour becomes late, put away the alcoholic beverages, but continue to offer a good supply of food.
  • Remember, only time will eliminate alcohol from the body.

C – Carpool or Cab

  • Encourage family and friends to ride together and have a pre-selected designated driver.
  • Provide alternatives for guests who may have had too much to drink.
  • Have someone who has not been drinking drive them home.
  • Call a cab or ride-share for guests to have a safe ride home.
  • Let the person sleep overnight rather than getting in their car while intoxicated.

Fall Favorites in Florida are Cool and Refreshing for a Thanksgiving Feast

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie
Festive Sparkling Punch
Apple Cider Float
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Micromobility

Micromobility usage is on the rise nationally and in Florida. The FDOT District Two’s Community Traffic Safety Program examined what Micromobility currently looks like in Northeast Florida. In this presentation, we will discuss what micromobility is—and isn’t. We will look at the increased popularity of micromobility nationally and its use in Northeast Florida and consider some of the safety challenges associated with the increased use of micromobility devices while keeping in mind the goal of ZERO fatalities on our roadways.

Watch the Micromobility video presentation:

How micromobility is defined is important because the functional and legal definitions determine the rights and responsibilities of micromobility device users operating on public streets and, accordingly, how law enforcement, public safety educators, and transportation planners and engineers can work to help improve safety outcomes.

From an industry perspective, they must be:

  • fully or partially electrically powered.
  • lightweight, under 500 pounds.
  • relatively low-speed—under 30 miles per hour.
Micromobility Device Examples

Examples include powered bicycles, also known as “E-bikes,” standing scooters, seated scooters, self-balancing boards like “Segways” and some “Hoverboards,” non-self-balancing boards, powered skates, and a range of other similar devices.

We highlight Florida Statutes and how micromobility is defined in Florida law. We discuss local regulation and Florida’s “Home Rule” principle. As a result, local governments can prohibit use on trails and sidewalks and regulate “for-hire” devices up to and including prohibition.

Flip through the presentation slides:

In five years, from 2016 to 2019, the use of shared, for-hire devices has increased more than seven-fold. Use accelerates as fleets of scooters and e-bikes are deployed in more cities.

While electric devices differ from “Active Transportation” modes like walking and pedaling a bike, the safety and infrastructure focus are similar. Micromobility devices are treated the same as traditional bicycles from a legal perspective because they generally have similar speed, maneuverability, and weight. Accordingly, strategies to enhance bicyclist safety, as well as strategies to make streets safer for pedestrians, will generally benefit micromobility users as well.

Micromobility Infrastructure Needs
Micromobility Docks, Corrals, Dockless

The infrastructure options to make micromobilty safe and effective are similar to those for cycling —namely, lower-stress facilities. Accordingly, networks that include low-stress facilities such as protected bike lanes, shared-use paths, bike boulevards, and cycle tracks will be more appealing to and improve the safety outcomes of a broader group of conventional bicycle and micromobility users.

Shared micromobility services are not currently as common in Northeast Florida as in other parts of the state. To date, three communities have active contracts with micromobility providers.

Micromobility in Gainesville
Micromobility in Jacksonville
Micromobility in St Augustine

Safety challenges are similar to bicycles. However, an E-bike or powered scooter can attain relatively high speeds faster and with little effort. Lack of experience is another critical factor.

Safety strategies include applying bicycle and pedestrian countermeasures. These include pedestrian safe crossings, low-stress bike infrastructure, and encouraging the use of helmets and safety equipment.

Our Community Traffic Safety Team members play an essential role in developing and implementing strategies to address these safety challenges. This includes working with local governments to include best-practice provisions in micromobility vendor contracts concerning geofencing and management of the public right-of-way; planning, designing, and construction of low-stress bicycle infrastructure to provide for overall mobility advantages; and working with businesses, chambers of commerce, and local law enforcement to provide educational material to tourists and other potentially inexperienced micromobility users.

We hope you take this opportunity to learn about Micromobility. Additionally, check out bicycle and pedestrian safety resources and tips.

Micromobility news and resources:

“E-scooters, which were a novelty just a few years ago, are here to stay. Everyone deserves to feel safe on the road, and we must do more to prioritize safety for this growing mode of travel.”

GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins

National Seat Belt Day

National Seat Belt Day is observed annually on November 14th to help encourage people to buckle up. The event was originated in 2019 by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), rideshare service Uber, and Volvo to celebrate the invention of the three-point seat belt in 1959 and promote the importance of using one every time they get in a vehicle.

While seat belts are easy to take for granted, they can make a huge difference between minor injuries and severe, life-threatening injuries or fatalities in a crash.

Ideas for National Seat Belt Day

  1. Buckle up – It takes seconds but can save you thousands of dollars in medical bills. More importantly, it can also save your life.
  2. Encourage others to wear seat belts – Be an example and insist that everyone in your car buckles up.
  3. Spread the news – Discuss the history and importance of wearing a seat belt at the dinner table with your family, at work with colleagues, and on social media with friends.
  4. Help Educate Children – Starting good habits at a young age will last a lifetime. Try our Buckle Up Buddy Heart craft and Ride Safe activity sheet!

Remind your friends and family that seat belts save lives. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an estimated 42,915 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes last year, a 10.5% increase from the 38,824 fatalities in 2020. In 2020, 10,893 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants were killed in crashes in the United States. Among the young adults (18 to 34) killed, more than half (60%) were completely unrestrained — one of the highest percentages for all age groups. “Behind each of these numbers is a life tragically lost and a family left behind.” The simple act of using a safety seat belt can make the difference between life and death.

Five Fast Facts

  1. Seat belts reduce fatalities by 45% among front-seat passengers and drivers.
  2. Seat belts prevent serious injuries by 50%.
  3. The three-point seat belt disperses the energy of the moving body to the chest, pelvis, and shoulders, reducing whiplash and abdominal injuries.
  4. Airbags aren’t enough! The force of an airbag can seriously hurt or even kill passengers who aren’t wearing seat belts, and airbags don’t prevent passengers or drivers from being ejected during crashes.
  5. You have an influence! Research shows that children whose parents wear seat belts are more likely to buckle up. Parents, caregivers, and peers can impact and encourage teens to buckle up.

National Seat Belt Day is an excellent time to review your practices and ensure everyone in your household understands why seat belt use is essential. These are some simple things that you can do to improve the safety of you and your passengers:

  • Always buckle your seat belt before driving
  • Make sure the person in your passenger seat is buckled up
  • Insist that rear-seat passengers are buckled up, regardless of state laws
  • Refuse to go unless your passengers are buckled up
  • Understand Florida’s child seat belt laws  
  • Know Florida’s laws for your child safety seats and booster seats

The History of Seat Belts

Seat belts have been around since the 19th century. Edward J. Claghorn received the first U.S. patent for safety belts, but his design was not for cars. In the 1930s, physicians recommended lap belts in their vehicles and suggested manufacturers do the same in their models. Lap belts were used in public transport like streetcars, preventing passengers from flying out of their seats during accidents.

The first vehicle in the U.S. to offer seat belts as a safety option was the Nash Rambler, back in 1950 when seat belts were still a novelty. Despite growing evidence that they helped save lives and reduce injuries, critics still resisted their use, claiming they were ineffective and may trap passengers if their cars were on fire or submerged in water.

In 1958, Saab became the first vehicle manufacturer to fit seat belts as standard features. One year later, Nils Bohlin — Volvo’s first chief safety engineer — patented the three-point seat belt. It improved the rudimentary two-point seat belt, which sometimes did more harm than good in accidents. The Swedish carmaker created the three-point seat-belt system in 1959, which has since become the global standard.

Safety Seat Belts in America

After making the three-point seat belt standard in Sweden, Volvo released the patent so other car manufacturers could adopt this essential safety feature in their models. By 1968, seat belts were a standard requirement in all U.S.-manufactured vehicles. Today, seat belts are a valued safety mechanism in cars, helping to save thousands of lives and millions of dollars in medical costs.

Seat belts have been standard in America for decades, though widespread use is a more recent occurrence. The good news is that primary seat belt use has been increasing; according to the GHSA, the national usage rate was 58% in 1994 and rose to 90% in 2018. Seat belt laws vary from state to state. Florida law requires that all drivers, all front seat passengers, and all passengers under the age of 18 fasten their safety belts. 

Seat belts are undeniably helpful in increasing the safety of drivers and passengers. The Community Traffic Safety Program in Northeast Florida hopes everyone wears a safety belt. Whether sitting in the driver’s seat or a passenger in the front seat or back, please buckle up! Also, ensure children are appropriately restrained in a federally approved car seat.

Additional Occupant Protection Information and Resources