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.

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 and Instagram: @trafficsafetyteam
Twitter and Pinterest: @trafficsafetyfl 

Traffic Safety Going Green

In honor of Earth Day, and upcoming Arbor Day, we wanted to share a positive change from the devastating COVID pandemic. By going virtual for our Traffic Safety Team meetings, we reduced our paper consumption and waste. This simple act of green saved over 30,000 sheets of paper during the last year.

Eliminating printed meeting packages, presentations and newsletters reduced paper usage substantially. Saving the files digitally also allows for team members to view the materials before, during and after a meeting. This is also a great resource for those who were unable to attend the virtual meeting. We saved paper and ink and we offered a new digital service for our Community Traffic Safety advocates.

The Northeast Florida Department of Transportation District Two’s Community Traffic Safety Program hosted online monthly county team meetings, and districtwide summer and winter virtual gatherings over the past year. This gave an opportunity for team members and partners throughout our 18 counties to connect safely, while also reducing their carbon footprint and gas consumption by not traveling by car.

Our Traffic Safety Teams are on the road to safety and happy to go a little green. With the use of digital devices and online resources, the trend of helping save our planet and going green can continue regardless of where or how we meet in the future.

Lane Departure Countermeasures

Cost Effective Safety Engineering Countermeasures Help Reduce Lane Departure Crashes 

Many fatal and serious injury crashes in Northeast Florida are a result of lane departures. We have created an educational series of proven safety countermeasures for FDOT District Two Traffic Safety Team members and communities.

These informational pieces can be used to help explain the safety treatments and strategies to prevent lane departures on our local roadways. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has based these proven measures on effectiveness and benefits. Click on the five educational Lane Departure Countermeasure cards below to download and share.

Lane departure crashes include: running off the road, crossing the center median into an oncoming lane of traffic, and sideswipe crashes. Running off the road may also involve a rollover or hitting a fixed object. One of the most severe types of crashes occurs when a vehicle crosses into an opposing traffic lane and crashes head on with an oncoming vehicle. 

A driver who is speeding, distracted, drowsy, or impaired is likely to have difficulty staying in the lane. To reduce the serious injuries and fatalities resulting from lane departures, efforts must be made to: keep vehicles from leaving the road or crossing the center median, reduce the likelihood of vehicles overturning or crashing into roadside objects, and minimize the severity of an overturn.

View and print this PDF document by the FDOT District Two Community Traffic Safety Program of lane departure countermeasures used in Northeast Florida.

Five Traffic Safety Countermeasures that Work in Preventing Roadway Departures:

1. Curves – Enhanced Delineation (Curve Signs) and Increased Pavement Friction 

Advance curve warning signs alert drivers of the severity of the curvature and operating speed, and chevron signs are installed along the curve. High friction surface treatment (HFST) compensates at curves where the available pavement friction is not adequate to support operating speeds. These countermeasure treatments are effective to reduce curve, nighttime and wet road crashes. 

2. Rumbles – Center Line, Edge Line and Shoulder Rumble Strips and Stripes 

Rumble strips are milled elements in the pavement. The vibration (and resulting sound) alerts drivers if they are leaving the travel lane. These rumbles are proven to help reduce roadway departure crashes caused by inattentive, distracted, or drowsy drivers who drift from their lane. 

3. Barriers – Roadside and Median Barrier Terminals and Crash Cushions 

Guardrail barriers help reduce crash severity. They are designed to redirect and slow vehicles while protecting them from obstacles, like opposing traffic, rigid fixed objects, bodies of water, or steep slopes. 

4. Clear Zone – Clear Zones and Widening Shoulders Provide for a Safe Recovery 

Clear zone areas are free of rigid, fixed objects such as trees and light poles. Establishing and maintaining a clear zone provides an unobstructed, traversable area beyond the edge of the road. Widening shoulders allows drivers more recovery time to regain control in the event of a roadway departure. 

5. SafetyEdgeSMSafetyEdgeSM Technology Shapes Edge of Pavement at 30 Degrees 

SafetyEdgeSM is a low cost countermeasure that prevents tire-scrubbing which often results in rollovers, run-off-road and head-on crashes, and allows vehicles to safely return to the travel lane. This paving technique also improves durability and reduces pavement edge drop-off. 

Engineering Concerns

We are asking all FDOT District Two Traffic Safety Team members for help in reporting traffic safety and engineering concerns.

One of the most important functions of our Traffic Safety Team is the identification of problems on our local roadways. You and your colleagues are the experienced “eyes” we need on our local roads.

As a Traffic Safety Team member, we value your insight and knowledge of your community’s traffic safety issues. Some of the safety issues identified include: signs, pavement markings, signals and areas that may benefit from increased enforcement.

You and anyone within your organization may submit a traffic safety engineering concern through our Roadway Concerns online form and include detailed location information, issue descriptions, photos and area maps.

Read: How to Submit Better Engineering Concerns presentation. Bringing the 4E’s of safety together: Engineering, Education, Emergency Medical Services and Enforcement.

Watch: Communicating Community Traffic Safety Concerns + Virtual Volunteer Challenge

Together we can solve roadway issues, reduce crashes and help prevent serious injuries and fatalities. If you see a roadway safety issue in any of our 18 Northeast Florida Counties, please submit online through the Roadway Concerns form.

Additional Team Member Resources and Virtual Volunteer Information available online.