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

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