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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:

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

Ride Safe Activity Cards

The Northeast Florida Community Traffic Safety Program (CTSP) distributed 15,000 Ride Safe Activity Cards throughout all 18 counties of FDOT District Two in May 2021. They are available for free at your local library.

Seat Belts Save Lives activity cards
Ride Safe Activity Cards – Buckle Up Activity Card with Occupant Protection and Child Passenger Safety Tips

Libraries are a wonderful place for community members to access educational and informational resources at no cost, and for our Community Traffic Safety Teams to promote key traffic safety messages, like driving safe, always wearing your safety belt, stopping distracted driving and sharing the road. This Ride Safe activity card is double-sided with a car safety crossword and child safety seat maze activity.

Seat Belts Save Lives activity card

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

The FDOT District Two covers 18 counties, from rural to urban communities. Our Northeast Florida CTSP has partnered with local, county public library systems for many years. Our goal is to help reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities on our roadways through education and community outreach.

Ride Safe: Remember to Always Buckle Up for Every Car Ride!

This Ride Safe Activity Card, occupant protection and child passenger safety, free educational resource is part of a series. The Drive Safe and Bike Safe pieces are available online below, and Walk Safe will be distributed this Fall. Each piece has a different activity or puzzle with important traffic safety tips and reminders.

Florida Hits All-Time High Safety Belt Usage Rate

Florida Hits All-Time High Safety Belt Usage Rate

Florida Hits All-Time High Safety Belt Usage Rate. On October 1, 2018, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) announced that Florida’s statewide safety belt usage rate has reached an all-time high of 90.6 percent. FDOT released the June 2018 Safety Belt Use in Florida report which affirms that FDOT and its traffic safety partners are providing effective occupant protection programs. Florida’s educational efforts, Click It or Ticket campaigns and high visibility law enforcement campaigns have continued to help increase Florida’s safety belt usage rates.

View the complete press release
View the Report

Florida Occupant Protection Resource Center
floridaoprc@ce.ufl.edu
2100 NE Waldo Road, Suite 106
Gainesville, FL  32609
352.273.1671

Complete press release from FDOT:

FDOT: Florida Hits All-Time High Safety Belt Usage Rate

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Today, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) announced that
Florida’s statewide safety belt usage rate has reached an all-time high of 90.6 percent. FDOT
released the June 2018 Safety Belt Use in Florida report which affirms that FDOT and its traffic
safety partners are providing effective occupant protection programs. Florida’s educational efforts,
Click It or Ticket campaigns and high visibility law enforcement campaigns have continued to help
increase Florida’s safety belt usage rates. The previous record for Florida safety belt compliance
was 90.2 percent (June 2017 Safety Belt Use in Florida report).

Florida Governor Rick Scott said, “I’m proud of the work FDOT does each day to keep
Florida residents and visitors safe on our roadways.

FDOT Secretary Mike Dew said, “Safety is the number one priority at the Florida Department
of Transportation. We recognize the integral role safety belts play in protecting drivers and
passengers in a crash. Every day lives are saved and people avoid serious injury in Florida
thanks to increased safety belt usage.”

Research has found that lap and shoulder combination safety belts, when used, reduce the risk of
fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent and the risk of moderate-to-critical
injury by 50 percent (NHTSA, 2011).

Florida’s first statewide survey was completed in 1999 and an annual survey has been conducted
every year since. Florida’s statewide safety belt use rate continues to trend upward every year since
the implementation of a primary safety belt law in 2009.

More Information

For additional information, please visit www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/seat-belts. To view the June
2018 Safety Belt Use in Florida report, please visit:
http://www.fdot.gov/info/CO/news/newsreleases/2018-Florida-Safety-Belt-Use-Final-Report.pdf
www.fdot.gov

W.H.A.L.E. We Have a Little Emergency

Video

The Florida Department of Transportation’s W.H.A.L.E. (We Have A Little Emergency) CHECK is an education and identification program for parents and caregivers who have children in car seats.

Click here to download!

W.H.A.L.E. We Have a Little Emergency Program Details

This program was first introduced in May of 2002 in Jacksonville, Florida by Northeast FDOT District Two’s CTSP. This 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 and 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 popular and nationally recognized W.H.A.L.E. Check campaign remains a highly requested and distributed piece on important child occupant protection. 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. The site has 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 program works.

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.