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 

Traffic Safety Talk Summer 2021

FDOT District Two Community Traffic Safety Program News and Information

Click here to download the Summer 2021 edition of Traffic Safety Talk.

Staying Positive and Engaged 

The landscape of the FDOT District Two Community Traffic Safety Program (CTSP) has changed over the past year, but we continue to expand awareness of traffic safety issues and solve local traffic safety concerns. We focused on reducing crashes, injuries, and fatalities on our roadways through engineering, education, enforcement, emergency medical services, and by providing resources on our website, with new blogposts and on our social media channels. Just under 45,000 emails, not including CTST meeting invitations, were sent to team members and community partners to help stay connected and share important traffic safety information, tips, and strategies.
– Andrea Atran, M.A., CPM
FDOT District Two Community Traffic Safety Program Manager

Virtual Meetings + Engineering Concerns

In May, Andrea Atran presented to the WTS (Women in Transportation) Northeast Florida Chapter where she covered topics including our program history, Strategic Highway Safety Plan, local data, engineering concerns, resources available and virtual volunteering opportunities. Over the past year, we held 73 virtual CTST meetings with a total of 929 attendees and 49 new members. By going virtual, we reduced paper consumption and waste. This simple act of green saved over 30,500 sheets of paper during the past year. While virtual meetings have not been ideal for everyone, some Teams have used this as an opportunity to grow and for members to attend who would not have been able to in-person. We are proud to say our Teams followed 298 engineering concerns, received 108 new concerns, and closed 111 issues since last summer. 

Buckle Up Banners About Town

By now you have probably seen some of the occupant protection banners displayed around Northeast Florida. We distributed 2,009 banners and 1,714 posters and surpassed 43,622 social media impressions/views with our Buckle Up campaign. The images are available digitally, which includes social media graphics to download and share for free.

Countermeasures That Work

Our FDOT District Two Community Traffic Safety Program created an educational series of cost effective safety engineering countermeasures that help reduce intersection, lane departure, and pedestrian/bicyclist crashes. The traffic safety strategies and treatments are based on proven measures of effectiveness by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and reduce serious injury and fatal crashes on our roadways. These were very popular across our social media platforms with almost 35,000 impressions. All three categories of countermeasures are posted on our website for viewing and sharing.  

  • LANE DEPARTURE COUNTERMEASURES help prevent running off the road, crossing the center median into an oncoming lane of traffic, and sideswipe crashes.
  • INTERSECTION COUNTERMEASURES incorporate roadway design, signage, traffic control devices, lighting, and other safety measures to help reduce crashes.
  • PEDESTRIAN/BICYCLIST COUNTERMEASURES use strategies and treatments of roadway markings, configurations, and traffic lights to reduce serious injury and fatal crashes by slowing traffic, allowing more space and safe areas for walkers and cyclists.  

New Flashback FAQ Series

Take a step back in time with us! From our video vault archive, we produced a new 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. 

The Flashback FAQs are featured on our social media pages. The Flashback FAQs answer some common questions we receive, like: What is the Community Traffic Safety Program?, Who are the members of a CTST?, What is the WHALE Check Program?, and How does CTST solve issues?  

Wise Words for Traffic Safety

This year we re-purposed artwork from a previous series we created into a fresh new Wise Words safety campaign. Grace Wilhelm with Duval Schools, submitted new Wise Words idea, Be Wise – Use Your Eyes, which we added with an eye-catching owl driver graphic. Just since January, there have been 7,969 Wise Words views and engagements on our social media platforms. 

Click here to view the complete newsletter which also includes how the Celebrate Safely program shifted since COVID-19, traffic safety materials distributed, and some of your favorite Community Traffic Safety Team messages.

Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon

Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons (PHBs) are designed to help pedestrians safely cross busy or higher-speed roadways at midblock crossings and uncontrolled intersections, where a majority of pedestrian fatalities occur. The PHB is an intermediate option between a flashing beacon and a full pedestrian signal. It assigns right of way and provides positive stop control, and allows motorists to proceed when the pedestrian has cleared the travel lane. 

PHB High-Intensity Activated Crosswalk Operation Guide 

FDOT District Two Community Traffic Safety Program developed a simple guide to help explain the process of a PHB for both motorists and pedestrians. Learn what drivers and pedestrians should do when they approach a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon. 

Click here to download the PDF Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon Guide, watch the video and flip through the digital book below.

Northeast Florida uses PHBs in communities to increase driver awareness of pedestrian crossings at uncontrolled, marked crosswalk locations. They are different from regular pre-timed pedestrian traffic signals as they are only activated when needed by the pedestrian.

PHB Instructions for Drivers and Pedestrians

STEP 1
• Drivers will see all indication lights are dark when there is no pedestrian waiting to cross, and the pedestrian signal will maintain a “DON’T WALK” symbol.
• Pedestrians who want to cross the street will need to push the button to activate the system.

STEP 2
• Drivers will see a FLASHING YELLOW light for a few seconds when pedestrians push the button. Drivers should reduce speed and prepare to stop.
• Pedestrians will still see the “DON’T WALK” symbol and should wait.

STEP 3
• Drivers will see the flashing go to a STEADY YELLOW light, warning them the indication will soon turn to a STEADY RED light.
• Pedestrians continue to see the “DON’T WALK” symbol and should remain waiting.

STEP 4
• Drivers will see a STEADY RED light, which requires them to STOP at the stop line.
• Pedestrians will then see a “WALK” symbol to cross and should look in both directions to make sure all vehicles are stopped.

STEP 5
• Drivers will see ALTERNATING FLASHING RED lights, as pedestrians cross the street. During this period, drivers are required to STOP and then they may proceed with caution if crosswalk is clear.
• Pedestrians will see the WALK indication change to a flashing countdown that indicates how much time they have remaining to cross the street.

STEP 6
• Drivers will see all lights are back to dark at the end of the flashing countdown and may continue to proceed through the crosswalk if it is clear.
• Pedestrians will see the “DON’T WALK” symbol and must push the button to activate the system again.


For more Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon resources and information, visit: FHWA Safety Program.

No Regrets When You DRIVE WITH CARE & CROSS WITH CARE