Traffic Safety Talk Newsletter

Welcome to our Traffic Safety Talk newsletter – the FDOT District Two Community Traffic Safety Program (CTSP) news and information update. Each issue includes recent projects, community outreach events, and safety campaigns. We discuss Traffic Safety Team materials and resources available for members. Digital flipbooks of the most recent newsletters are available. Additionally, we have included the PDF documents below to view current and past editions.

Current Traffic Safety Talk News Update • April 2024 Flip Book:

Click here for the new April Traffic Safety Talk PDF file. In this Bringing You Home Safely Since 1994 issue, various topics and projects include:

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Buckle Up and Slow Down

Hey Guys, Slow Down! There is an over-representation of fatality and injury crashes with young men, ages 18–24, in Northeast Florida rural counties caused by speeding and lower seat belt usage. We aim to reduce traffic fatalities and serious injuries by increasing safety belt usage and reducing excessive speeding.

We want young male drivers between the ages of 18 and 24 to change how they think about speeding and realize it’s not worth the risk to their life or future. After interviewing this target audience in Northeast Florida, we established better insight into some barriers and behavioral determinants of excessive speeding. We found they drove excessively higher speeds than the posted limits more often on rural roadways.

Rural Buckle Up and Slow Down poster and banner

To help change this behavior, we have created a new safety message. The core idea is to save your life and protect your future. We need community outreach and connection to encourage slowing down and making driving safe the norm. Our new materials have country-styled belt buckles that say “Buckle-Up” and “Slow Down” with the message: Life is a journey. Enjoy the ride… safely to reach your destiny. We want young male drivers to feel it’s okay not to be the fastest on the road. 

Life is a highway made of more than asphalt and concrete, filled with cars and people.
These streets connect us and make it possible to go places, be someone, and enjoy the benefits of life.
The long and winding roads take us to our future.
If you don’t slow down and enjoy the journey, you may come to a dead end.
Your family and friends would be devastated, and the world might never know what you could have been.

Buckle Up and Slow Down

Help make buckling up the social norm and driving at safe speeds part of our safety culture.

Please download and share this Buckle Up and Slow Down digital graphic. You may print this flyer as a hand out tip card, include it on an email or newsletter, or post on social media. Don’t forget tag us! @trafficsafetyteam on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube or @trafficsafetyfl on Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Hashtag #SlowDownFL #BuckleUpFL #TrafficSafetyFL

speeding, aggressive drivers, occupant protection, Country Buckle Up Belt and Slow Down Belt Buckle

Slow Down – District Two Market Research

Levy and Suwannee are two counties in Northeast Florida with a population under 44,000. Comparing these counties with other similarly sized counties in Florida, they are ranked most problematic (#1 and #3) in the issues of both speed and teen drivers per the FY2024 Highway Safety Matrix.

Examples of why speeding among young male drivers on rural roads is a problem include:

  • Limited law enforcement presence
  • Roadway characteristics – curvature, grade, width, and adjacent land use
  • Delayed EMS response times
  • Pickup trucks are more likely to roll over, especially when significantly altered/lifted; they are top-heavy

Formative data:

  • NHTSA 2020 Speeding Traffic Safety Facts – Thirty-five percent of male drivers in the 15- to 20-year-old age group involved in fatal crashes in 2020 were speeding, the highest among the age groups.
  • GHSA Teens and Speeding – from 2015 to 2019, teen drivers and passengers (16 – 19 years of age) had a greater proportion of speeding-related fatalities (43%) than all other age groups. Men were almost twice as likely as women to say that they drove at extreme speeds much more often than normal. 
  • Speeding-related teen driver fatal crashes – the driver is more likely to be male (37% vs. 28%), have run off the road or rolled over the vehicle, and to be unbelted.
  • Male drivers in every age group account for the greatest proportion of fatal crashes involving speeding.
  • NTSB – The relationship between speed and injury severity is consistent and direct. 
  • NHTSA – Drivers classified as speeders were almost three times as likely as sometime speeders to strongly agree with the statements, “I often get impatient with slower drivers” (45% versus 18%), “I enjoy the feeling of driving fast” (19% versus 6%), and “I try to get where I am going as fast as I can” (11% versus 3%).

Insight – Younger male drivers enjoy excessive speeding in rural areas without regard to safety or the law. Barriers and behavioral determinants:

  • Entitlement (the belief that their need to reach a destination is more important/deserving, ‘own the road.’)
  • Personable responsibility and self-protection
  • Driving over the speed limit is not dangerous for skilled drivers (male dominant attitude)
  • Hustle mentality
  • Traveling with the flow of traffic (everyone speeds)
  • Enjoy driving faster (extreme risks feel exciting, adrenaline rush)
  • Not predetermined, in-the-moment decisions to speed

Other materials, information, and resources available on our website about occupant protection, speeding, and driving tips for teens:

Buckle Up Buddy Heart

Sweetheart Craft for Valentine’s Day

Check out our cute Buckle Up Buddy Heart and bring some safety fun into Valentine’s Day. It’s time to get crafty with the kiddos (or for those of us who are just a kid at heart). Don’t be afraid of pink and red, hearts, and even glitter. This is a unique Valentine’s holiday craft with a simple traffic safety message.

Buckle Up Buddy Heart Artwork
Make your own Buckle Up Buddy Heart Valentine!

You and your family or school class can make these easy Buckle Up Buddy Hearts. The arms and legs bounce and jiggle… make us smile and want to giggle while remembering the importance of buckling up!

This is a cute DIY craft for any time of year. Kids can make a Buckle Up Buddy Heart for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or as a birthday card. In addition to being a fun art project, it also sends a positive traffic safety message. Occupant protection is always a primary concern. All drivers and passengers should be properly restrained with a lap and shoulder seat belt, and children should be correctly strapped into the right car seat that fits their size.

Download this free printable Buckle Up Buddy Heart Valentine craft sheet and follow the instructions. 

Buckle Up Buddy Heart – Valentine Craft
Template by Northeast Florida DOT District Two

Community Traffic Safety Team

SUPPLIES:

  • white card stock (or heavy paper)
  • crayons or markers
  • glitter or glitter glue (optional)
  • scissors
  • glue or glue stick
Buckle Up Buddy Heart Activity Card

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Download and print the free template provided above.
  2. Color and decorate the hearts.
  3. Cut out all the pieces.
  4. Fold arms and leg strips like an accordion.
  5. Glue the arms and legs onto the big heart.
  6. Finally, glue the small hearts on to create hands and feet.

You can write a personalized message on the back of your Valentine card. We like, “Be Mine. Be Safe. Be Buckled Up.” Don’t forget to give your special Buckle Up Buddy Heart to someone you love. Or leave it in the car as a reminder to all those you love to wear their seat belt for every car ride.

Move Over or Slow Down

Every 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. This law helps to protect those who protect us while they provide essential services in a dangerous environment – the side of the road.

Florida law requires motorists to move over a lane — when they can safely do so — for the following:

  • Stopped law enforcement.
  • Emergency responders.
  • Sanitation and utility service vehicles.
  • Tow trucks or wreckers.
  • Maintenance or construction vehicles with displayed warning lights without advanced signs or channelizing devices.
  • NEW: Disabled vehicles. (effective 1/1/2024)
Move Over or Slow Down
Move Over
Slow down if unable to move over
Pull over for moving emergency and law enforcement vehicles

New Requirements Added to the Move Over Law – Effective January 1, 2024

Florida lawmakers take action to enhance protection for all roadway users. The expanded Move Over law adds three scenarios to Florida’s current law. Motorists will be required to move over if:

  • There is a disabled motor vehicle that is stopped and displaying warning lights or hazard lights.
  • If a vehicle is stopped and is using emergency flares or posting emergency signage.
  • When a vehicle is stopped and one or more persons are visibly present.

Florida’s Move Over Law Expanded in 2021

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 flashing warning lights, they need to change lanes or slow down.

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

The Florida requirement expanding to cover these additional roadway service providers was enacted in July 2021. In 2022, there were 170 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.

Move Over

  • As soon as it is safe to do so, vacate the lane closest to the stopped law enforcement, emergency, sanitation, utility service vehicles, tow trucks or wreckers, maintenance or construction vehicles with displaying warning lights, and any disabled vehicle on the side of the road when driving on an interstate highway or other highways 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, or when on a two-lane road, 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

Celebrate Safely, Designate a Driver

The Florida Department of Transportation is focused on Target Zero and the goal of zero deaths on our roadways. District Two’s Community Traffic Safety Program has addressed traffic safety issues in Northeast Florida for almost three decades. We have promoted the Celebrate Safely, Designate a Driver campaign and Recipes for the Road booklet since 1998. According to Florida’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP), one out of every four traffic fatalities in Florida involves a driver impaired by alcohol or drugs.

2023 Celebrate Safely Poster

Celebrate Safely 2023 Poster

Celebrate Safely, Designate a Driver and Recipes for the Road focus on the SHSP strategies of both education and insight into creating safer communities, by working with local partners. This includes law enforcement, team members, restaurants, and bars. The goal is to promote responsible alcohol service and personal use at events or party hosting. They also promote safe transportation choices that encourage alternatives to driving while impaired.

Impaired Driving Initiative

The Celebrate Safely impaired driving initiative was created to help reduce alcohol-related traffic deaths and injuries throughout the holiday season. Safety messages are vital at any time of year, especially during the holidays. Important impaired driving safety tips and reminders included in this campaign:

  • Before drinking alcohol, designate a non-drinking driver.
  • Never let your friends drive impaired.
  • Get a safe ride home – call a cab or ride-share service.
  • If you’re hosting a party, offer alcohol-free beverages, serve food, and ensure all guests leave with a sober driver.

During the holiday season, District Two Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST) members reach out to local restaurants and bars to display the Celebrate Safely, Designate a Driver campaign. In the past, materials include 11×17 full-color posters, coasters, stickers, and nonalcoholic recipe books. Numerous neighborhood establishments throughout Northeast Florida participate every year. CTST members, partners, and agencies may click here to order posters and recipe cards for distribution.

Free Social Media Resources

Be a Community Traffic Safety Team “Virtual Volunteer” and share these Celebrate Safely images on your social media accounts. Don’t forget to follow and tag us! @trafficsafetyteam on Facebook and Instagram or @trafficsafetyfl on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Celebrate Safely Designate a Driver 2023
Celebrate Safely Designate a Driver 2022 art

This year we have a new poster using one of our retro designs, updated with Target Zero colors and inspirations. There are double-sided recipe cards available for team members to distribute throughout District Two. We also have a unique 12-page flipbook available for viewing online with a PDF download option. In addition to nonalcoholic drinks, there are delicious appetizers, tasty treats, and traffic safety tips for pedestrians, bicyclists, occupant protection, and distracted driving reminders.

Our recipe videos have become very popular – Check out our “Mocktails” webpage! 

Past Celebrate Safely Poster Designs

Impaired Driving Celebrate Safely Poster
25th Anniversary
Celebrate Safely Designate a Driver 2019 Poster
2019-2021 Poster
Celebrate Safely Designate a Driver 2014 Poster
2014-2018 Poster
Celebrate Safely Designate a Driver 2011 Poster
2011-2013 Poster
Celebrate Safely Designate a Driver 1997 Poster
1997-2010 Poster

Impaired Driving Information and Resources