National School Bus Safety Week

This year’s National School Bus Safety Week (NSBSW) takes place October 18-22, 2021. The Northeast Florida Community Traffic Safety Program is highlighting school bus safety tips and information to share. Please join us in advocating for school bus safety to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities on our roadways.

Every year, approximately 440,000 public school buses travel more than 4 billion miles and daily transport 24 million children to and from schools and school-related activities. School buses account for an estimated 10 billion student trips each year.*

We would also like to thank all bus drivers and also acknowledge the shortage in our local communities. We appreciate everyone working together to make sure children get to school and back home safely. 

School Bus Safety Rules for Drivers

  • Learn and obey the school bus laws in your state.
  • Be sure to acquaint yourself with the flashing light system that school bus drivers use to alert motorists.
  • Yellow flashing lights mean that the school bus is preparing to stop. Motorists should slow down and be ready to stop their vehicles.
  • Red flashing lights and an extended stop arm indicate that the school bus has stopped, and children are boarding or exiting.
  • On a two-lane road, all vehicles in both directions must stop.
  • On a divided highway with a raised median, unpaved space, or a physical barrier of at least five feet, vehicles traveling in the opposite direction are not required to stop.
  • On a divided highway where no median or barrier exists, all vehicles are mandated to stop.

School Bus Safety Reminders for Students

  • Arrive early.
  • Don’t push or cut in line.
  • Stay out of the “danger zone,” 10 steps away from the bus.
  • Wait for the bus driver to open the door before trying to get on.
  • Keep aisle clear of your backpack, bag, or books.
  • Talk quietly during the entire bus ride.
  • Keep your hands, arms, and head inside the bus at all times.
  • Walk in front of the bus to cross the street, never behind it.

National Coalition for Safer Roads introduced the theme Expect the Unexpected. Know the Danger Zone. Click here to check out what they have to offer this year.

Additional School Bus Safety Information and Resources for Drivers and Children:

*source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Pedestrian/Bicyclist Countermeasures

Cost Effective Safety Engineering Countermeasures Help Protect Vulnerable Road Users

FDOT District Two Community Traffic Safety Program in Northeast Florida continues the educational countermeasure series based on proven measures of effectiveness by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). These pieces outline countermeasures to improve safety for people traveling by foot, wheelchair, or bicycle.

Click on the five educational Pedestrian and Bicyclist Countermeasure cards below to download a copy. They may be printed or shared digitally through email or social media with our Northeast Florida Traffic Safety Teams, communities, and agencies.

Many of the serious and fatal injuries to pedestrians and bicyclists occur during dark or dusk hours, and outside of marked crosswalks or bicycle lanes. Motorist speed is one of the major factors that can mean the difference between a minor injury and a serious injury or fatality for a bicyclist or pedestrian. The traffic safety strategies and treatments of roadway markings, configurations and traffic lights reduce serious injury and fatal crashes by slowing traffic, allowing more space and safe areas for walkers and cyclists.

Click here for a PDF document of these pedestrian and bicyclist countermeasures used in Northeast Florida, provided by the FDOT District Two Community Traffic Safety Program.


Traffic Safety Countermeasures that Work in Reducing Pedestrian-Vehicle Crashes:

1. Walkways, Shared Use Paths, and Sidewalks Improve Safety and Mobility

Pedestrian walkways are defined pathways for use by people traveling by foot or using a wheelchair and are separated from motor vehicle traffic by a space, barrier, or curb and gutter. Northeast Florida integrates and maintains accessible walkways, shared use paths, sidewalks, and roadway shoulders into the transportation system in both urban and rural areas to provide safer spaces for pedestrians to walk. 

2. Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPI) Give Pedestrians a Head Start 

Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPI) allow pedestrians the opportunity to enter an intersection 3-7 seconds before vehicles are given a green indication. Their presence can be better established in the crosswalk before drivers have priority to turn. Benefits of LPIs include: 
• Increased visibility of crossing pedestrians. 
• Reduced conflicts between pedestrians and vehicles. 
• Increased likelihood of motorists yielding to pedestrians. 
• Enhanced safety for pedestrians who may be slower to start into the intersection. 

3. Pedestrian Crossing Islands and Medians Reduce Pedestrian Crashes 

Raised medians and pedestrian crossing islands (refuge areas) separate motorized and non-motorized road users. Pedestrians need to estimate vehicle speeds, adjust their walking speed, determine gaps in traffic, and predict vehicle paths to safely cross a roadway. The defined pavement markings, raised medians, or islands help improve pedestrian safety by allowing walkers to cross one direction of traffic at a time. This proven pedestrian safety countermeasure is used in Northeast Florida in curbed sections of urban and suburban multi-lane roadways. 

4. Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons (PHBs) Assist with Safe Crossing 

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 also allows motorists to proceed when the pedestrian has cleared the travel lane. For more information and details about Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons, please visit: trafficsafetyteam.org/pedestrian-hybrid-beacon 

5. Roadway Reconfigurations Improve Safety for All Road Users 

A “Road Diet” typically involves reconfiguring a four-lane undivided roadway into a three-lane roadway consisting of a center left-turn lane and two through lanes. Benefits include a reduction of rear-end, left-turn and right-angle crashes. This configuration also gives the opportunity to install pedestrian refuge islands, bicycle lanes, on-street parking, or transit stops. “Road Diets” help calm traffic and provide better mobility and access that accommodates the needs of pedestrians with fewer lanes to cross and more space for cyclists. 


Ride Safe Activity Card

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

Ride Safe – 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.

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.

Remember to Always Buckle Up for Every Car Ride!

This Ride Safe, 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.

Intersection Countermeasures

Cost Effective Safety Engineering Countermeasures Help Reduce Intersection Crashes 

FDOT District Two Community Traffic Safety Program in Northeast Florida continues the educational series of proven safety countermeasures. These five informational pieces help explain intersection countermeasures. The traffic safety strategies and treatments of roadway markings and traffic lights at intersections reduce serious injury and fatal crashes. They are based on proven measures of effectiveness by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Click on the five educational Intersection Countermeasure cards below to download a copy. They may be printed or shared digitally through email or social media with our Northeast Florida Traffic Safety Teams, communities and agencies.

Motorists and other road users, including pedestrians and cyclists, cross paths at intersections. This is where the greatest potential for roadway conflicts exist. Turning, changing lanes and traveling through intersections are among the most complex in the transportation system. They require appropriate roadway design, signage, traffic control devices, lighting, and other safety measures. Innovative safety improvements and operations at signalized and unsignalized intersections can help enhance everyone’s safety.

Click here for a PDF document of these intersection countermeasures used in Northeast Florida, provided by the FDOT District Two Community Traffic Safety Program.

Traffic Safety Countermeasures that Work in Reducing Intersection Crashes:

1. Roundabouts Reduce Severe Crashes

Roundabouts are a circular intersection that feature channelized approaches and a center island that safely and efficiently moves traffic. Motorists entering the roundabout yield to vehicles already circulating which leads to improved operational performance. Roundabouts are an effective countermeasure resulting in lower speeds and fewer conflict points.

2. Backplates with Retroreflective Borders

Backplates are a low cost countermeasure being introduced in Northeast Florida on traffic signal heads to improve visibility of the illuminated face. The dark backplate provides a controlled-contrast background. The framing with a retroreflective border makes the signal easily seen in both daytime and nighttime conditions. This treatment enhances visibility for aging motorists and color vision deficient drivers, and is also beneficial during power outages or inclement weather, providing a visible cue for all motorists.

3. Left and Right Turn Lanes at Intersections Reduce Severe Crashes

Left or right auxiliary turn lanes provide measurable safety and operational benefits at intersections, reducing the number of crashes. Turn lanes give a physical separation between slower turning traffic and the free flowing main route of traffic. They provide space for deceleration prior to a turn and storage for vehicles that have stopped and are waiting to complete a turn.

4. Well-Timed Yellow Change Intervals Reduce Red-Light Running 

Red-light running is a leading cause of severe crashes at signalized intersections, and it is critical that the length of time a yellow signal is displayed following a green signal is appropriately timed. If the yellow light changes too quickly, motorists may be unable to stop safely and cause unintentional red-light running. If the yellow light changes too slowly, this may result in drivers treating the yellow signal as an extension of the green phase and invite intentional red-light running.

5. Benefits of the Flashing Yellow Arrow Left Turn Signal

Fewer crashes and better traffic flow are benefits of the flashing yellow left turn arrows as an effective engineering countermeasure. The updated design of left turn signals with a flashing yellow arrow creates a safer, more efficient left turn at intersections. When the flashing yellow arrow is illuminated, drivers must first yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians, then they may proceed to turn with caution. This new signal system presents motorists with a more direct message and reduces confusion by replacing the green ball with the yellow and green left turn arrows so the display is not the same as the adjacent thru lane. 

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.