Safety Belt Use in Northeast Florida

Florida’s statewide safety belt use rate for 2023 is 89.4 percent, an improvement from the 2022 result of 88.3 percent. This annual statewide survey is primarily designed to provide a single safety belt usage estimate for the entire State of Florida, not official county rates. However, these rates are still helpful as they can serve as reference points for changes between years.

Out of the three counties surveyed in our 18-county district, the total number of Observed Front-Seat Occupants, including drivers and passengers, was 5,413.

2023 Survey Results for Safety Belt Use in Northeast Florida

  • Alachua County 90.6% (down from 90.8% in 2022 and 95% in 2021)
  • Duval County 86.2% (down from 87.5% in 2022 and 87.3% in 2021)
  • St Johns County 89.3% (up from 86.6% in 2022 and down from 92.1% in 2021)

Notably, the sites used in the 2022 and 2023 surveys differed from previous years, potentially influencing the shift in survey numbers. Alachua and St. Johns yielded their lowest usage over the five measurements in the survey for the years 2017 through 2022. Some decreases could be due to the different areas where new sites are located.

Despite the year-to-year decrease, safety belt usage generally shows an upward trend. However, the recent pullback does indicate that occupant protection programs should still seek to increase safety belt usage among the disproportionately low-use groups identified in this survey.

Occupant Protection Messages in Response to Low Usage Rates

The low safety belt usage groups identified include pickup truck occupants, male passengers, occupants between the ages of 16-34, and black occupants.

Occupants Ages 16-34: Be Savvy… Buckle Up
Occupants in Pickups: Buckle Up in Your Truck

Additional Occupant Protection Tips, Information, and Resources

  • Wear your seat belt for every ride.
  • Buckling up is the single most effective thing you can do to protect yourself in a crash.
  • Secure children in a proper child safety seat.
  • Safety belt use isn’t just a good idea; IT’S THE LAW.

The Traffic Safety Team provides a variety of occupant protection materials:

Safety Belt Law History

In 1986, Florida implemented its first adult safety belt law. Safety belt use before the law was at 22% statewide. From 1999 to 2004, Florida’s use rate increased from 59% to just over 76% due to FDOT’s “Click It or Ticket” campaign and other efforts across the state. In 2009, Florida passed a primary enforcement safety belt bill, and safety belt use has increased since the law’s passage. Working together, we can continue to increase safety belt use and reduce fatalities and injuries on our roadways.

“Always Buckle Up … for Your Family. For Yourself. For LIFE.” 
No Regrets When You BUCKLE UP!

Read more: Safety Belt Use in Northeast Florida

Survey Results in 2021 for Safety Belt Use in Northeast Florida and Statewide

According to the 2021 survey by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), statewide use of safety belts increased slightly, from 89.8% in 2019 to 90.1% in 2021. Of the 18 counties in FDOT District Two, three were surveyed in 2021. Safety belt use in Northeast Florida increased in two out of the three counties surveyed. We are proud of both Alachua (95%) and St. Johns (92.1%) for making the list of high-usage counties!

Survey Results and Trends

Florida’s 2021 survey results show safety belt use differed by road type. Motorists on higher speed roads are buckling up more, while usage on local, lower speed roads are least likely buckled up. The highest use of safety belts was on interstate highways, at 93.1%, followed by principal arterials at 91.9%. The lowest usage was on local roads, at 87.6%, and minor arterials at 87.3%.

Safety belt usage also differed by vehicle type. Occupants in pickup trucks have exhibited lower usage than those in other vehicle types every year of the survey. SUV occupants frequently used their safety belts at 93.7%, car occupants at 90%, van occupants at 89.9%, and pickup occupants at 81.6%.

Survey results consistently indicated that females were more likely to wear a safety belt every year. In 2021, 92.9% of females buckled up, versus men, at 87.6%.

Occupants ages 35–39 buckled up 91.8% of the time, and those ages 16–34 buckled up the least, at 88.7%. Prior surveys show a similar pattern in usage among age groups. 

Overall, safety belt usage has shown an upward trend over time. The 2021 results indicate progress in use among occupants traveling on higher-speed roadways and certain types of vehicles (SUVs). Results also indicate where improvement is still needed among the low belt use groups, including occupants of pickup trucks, black occupants, and occupants traveling on lower-speed roadways.

FDOT State Safety Office administered the annual survey. State survey sites and locations were based on recent traffic fatality counts in 15 Florida counties. Click here to view the Safety Belt Use in Florida 2021 Final Report. (Note: No survey was conducted in 2020.)


Alachua County Safety Belt Use Rates Highest in Florida in 2021

Congratulations, Alachua County, for having the highest usage rates in the state again! Survey results showed that Alachua equaled its highest-ever use rates, at 95.0%, and ranked #1 overall statewide. Alachua has been a long-time winner with buckling up. We are proud of Alachua for consistently remaining at the top of usage rates in Florida.  

St. Johns County Rates High in Safety Belt Use in 2021

Kudos to St. Johns County for maintaining an above-average usage rate. St. Johns came in at the fifth-highest county in the state with a 92.1% safety belt use rate (a tie with Lee County). Since 2018, St. Johns has rated over 90% safety belt use.

Duval County Safety Belt Use Needs Improvement

We have work to do in Duval County! Of the 2021 counties surveyed, Duval ranked the secondlowest safety belt use rate in the state, at 87.3% (followed only by Volusia at 84.%). Plans are for extensive efforts to provide resources, tools, and support to Duval County by educating others on the importance of buckling up. The FDOT District Two Community Traffic Safety Program (CTSP) has many occupant protection resources on its website and social media platforms.

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:

Continue Reading

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

Districtwide Discussions

Because of numerous requests for our Districtwide Discussion presentations, we are including them below to serve you better, our District Two Traffic Safety Team members. For those who have been following these districtwide hot topics, it’s been a beneficial conversation. While looking at these slides offers a glimmer into the ongoing dialogue, it’s not the same as being present and a part of the discussions.

Thank you to everyone who has joined the conversation across our 18-county district. There has been a lot of valuable input, experience, and expertise from team members. View Florida statutes, local guidelines, ordinances, news articles, reports, and materials submitted by other team members. Please share any new data or information.

November Presentation – School Zone Camera Enforcement and Traffic Safety Roadway Concerns

November’s Districtwide Discussion included a follow-up about the new Florida law allowing camera enforcement of school zone speed limits. FDOT District Two Traffic Operations Engineer, Jim Hannigan, discussed school zone camera enforcement requirements and guidelines, which will be finalized by the end of December. Additionally, an in-depth presentation reviewed traffic safety roadway concerns, submissions, and the process within our Community Traffic Safety Teams in Northeast Florida.

School Zone Speed Detection Systems UPDATE:

Pursuant to Section 316.0776, Florida Statutes, the Department may approve the installation of School Zone Speed Detection Systems on the State Highway System.  Installations of these devices on the State Highway System must be authorized through a General Use Permit.  Please use the link below to access the website to read an overview of the process, the Placement and Installation Guidelines, Frequently Asked Questions, and Special Provisions that will be attached to the General Use Permit.  This process is like the process used for Automated License Plate Recognition (LPR) Systems and Traffic Infraction Detectors (Red Light Running Cameras).  Please refer to this website occasionally because the documents may be updated as this process rolls out.

School Speed Detection System (fdot.gov)


Resources are compiled on these two web pages:

September Presentation – Ongoing Districtwide Discussions

In September, we had a productive dialogue about these ongoing electric micromobility device and golf cart concerns. We covered hot topics in the news (lithium-ion fire hazards and college campus bans on e-bikes/e-scooters), increased injury impacts, developing golf cart crossing, e-scooter research, and ideas for future discussions.


June Presentation – Continuing the Discussion on E-Mobility Devices and Golf Carts

June 2023 Districtwide Discussion Presentation

June’s Districtwide Discussion, Follow-Up on E-Mobility Devices and Golf Carts, we addressed the challenges of collecting data, local regulations, insurance and liability concerns, and designing for safe behaviors.


May Presentation – Golf Cart/LSV Concerns and Follow-Up on E-Mobility Devices

June 2023 Districtwide Discussion Presentation

In May, the Districtwide Discussion presentation introduced concerns in Northeast Florida about street-legal golf carts (low-speed vehicles). We also continued the discussion on the issues regarding electric mobility devices.


April Presentation – Let’s Talk About E-Bikes, E-Scooters, and E-Unicycles

April 2023 Districtwide Discussion Presentation

During the April Districtwide meeting presentation, we discussed the population growth in Florida and existing pedestrian and bicycle crash data. Data documenting e-bike and other electric mobility device crashes and injuries is needed. We looked at other states’ guidelines and local beach communities whom have established ordinances addressing e-bike usage.


This year, we began virtual, open discussion meetings on special topics with Andrea Atran, District Two Community Traffic Safety Program Manager. The goal is to encourage conversations on districtwide issues. The informal gathering is an excellent opportunity for members across our 18-county district to connect, ask questions, and share their expertise. In February, we reviewed safety grants. And in March, we discussed the history of the CTSP and the importance of engineering concerns. This led to concerns regarding micromobility – specifically, e-bikes and e-scooters.

Tackling these topics is a group effort. Bringing everyone together to address issues affecting our communities is what we are about. Additionally, we look forward to future Districtwide Discussions and new topics for collaboration.

Safe Communities

Community Traffic Safety Teams (CTSTs) are synonymous with Safe Communities. These classic programs launched in the mid-1990s. They play a critical role in traffic safety, connecting local communities, identifying priority problems, and implementing countermeasures. The Northeast FDOT District Two Florida’s Community Traffic Safety Program (CTSP) is committed to safety and Target Zero. Florida’s traffic crashes, injuries, and fatalities are at critical levels. Our CTSTs work together to improve traffic safety and help curb dangerous driving behaviors. We bring highway safety, public health, law enforcement, and business leaders across our 18 counties. Teams address local traffic safety concerns and the ongoing roadway safety crisis.

What is a Safe Community?

Safe Communities is a model used by communities nationwide to identify and address local injury problems. Safe Communities allow citizens to predict when and where injuries are most likely to strike. And take the best course of action to keep them from happening at all. This article speaks specifically to those injuries caused by traffic crashes. However, the model can be used to address any local injury problem. Four essential characteristics define Safe Communities:

  1. Use of multiple sources of data to identify community injury problems;
  2. Citizen involvement;
  3. Expanded partnerships; and
  4. A comprehensive and integrated injury control system.

The mission of the FDOT District 2 Community Traffic Safety Program is to reduce traffic-related fatalities and injuries. We do this within our communities by solving local problems with state assistance. We strive for Florida’s goal of Target Zero, following the Safe System Approach while incorporating the fundamentals of Safe Communities.

Historical Safe Communities Documents

Safe Communities The First Six Months
The First Six Months
Safe Communities: Community Traffic Safety Outreach Featuring Florida CTST Best Practices
Safe Communities: Featuring Florida CTST Best Practices
Safe Communities Approach
An Approach to Reduce Traffic Injuries
Safe Communities Evaluating and Monitoring
Evaluating and Monitoring
Safe Communities Tool Kit
2007 Tool Kit
Safe Communities Getting Started Presentation
Getting Started Presentation

An Approach to Reduce Traffic Injuries

In 1995, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) distributed a summary, “Putting It Together: A Model for Integrating Injury Control System Elements,” describing how prevention, acute care, and rehabilitation need to work together to make progress in reducing injuries. This injury control approach has application to traffic safety. A Safe Communities approach is one way to get the injury control system components to work together to reduce injuries. (Content from NHTSA)

Motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of all injury deaths. Motor vehicle-related injuries are the principal cause of on-the-job fatalities. Additionally, it’s the third largest cause of all deaths in the United States. Only heart attacks and cancer kill more people. However, far more people are injured and survive motor vehicle crashes than die in these crashes. Most of these injuries and deaths are not acts of fate but are predictable and preventable. Injury patterns, including traffic-related injury patterns, vary by age, gender, and cultural group. There are also seasonal and geographic patterns to injury. Once the cause of injuries is identified, interventions can be designed to address the cause. Ultimately, the goal is to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities.

Community-Based Approaches: Illustrations from Traffic Safety

Community Traffic Safety Programs were an outgrowth of the successful occupant protection and anti-drunk driving programs of the 1970s and 1980s. Historically, CTSPs combined two or more traffic safety countermeasures or interventions to address such local problems. Issues like impaired driving and infrequent use of child safety seats and safety belts. Over time, in various combinations that were appropriate to a specific community, citizen advocacy groups, law enforcement, business, public health agencies, education, the courts, and the media combined efforts by forming coalitions with elected officials and other community leaders to develop solutions to local traffic safety problems.

National Community Traffic Safety Program History

The CTSP is a national initiative established by the NHTSA and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) partnership. The program was launched in 1993 to address and prevent traffic fatalities and injuries in local communities. The CTSP built upon the strengths and resources of the two agencies’ efforts by expanding the role of engineering. Furthermore, it brings new partners like the Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Officials, and highway safety educators. The goal is to promote cooperation and trust and develop cost-effective activities, including new skills, technologies, and ideas to focus on crash-related problems. (NHTSA Corridor/Community Traffic Safety Programs Student Manual, Transportation Safety Institute 1994) 

Florida Program History

“The 1991 Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act mandated a state safety management system (SMS). The SMS integrated vehicles, drivers, and roadway elements into a comprehensive approach to solving highway safety problems. The focus of the SMS was to ensure that safety became an integral part of highway planning, design, construction, maintenance, and operation of all public roads. The FDOT used the CTSP and local Teams to address the SMS requirements.” (Safety Sentinel, March 1998) 

The agency decided that the best way to address safety on all public roads was a multi-disciplinary approach, with the intent to expand the CTST concept throughout the state. This would address safety problems on non-state roads. Additionally, it would provide forums for the various disciplines at the state and local levels. 

District Two CTSTs

One of the most crucial functions of a CTST is identifying and reporting problems on our local roadways. Through our monthly work addressing local roadway concerns, we bring together the 4E’s of safety: Engineering, Education, Emergency Medical Services, and Enforcement. Team members are the “eyes” of our roadways.

We know from FHWA that local agencies own approximately 75 percent of rural roads. Unfortunately, while local roads are less traveled than State highways, they have a much higher rate of serious crashes. By bringing the many community partners together to address identified issues in a community, FDOT has a connection to issues and data on local roads. Examples of some of the concerns addressed each month include requests for studies and maintenance support. Areas include school crossings, roadway hazards, road surface conditions, access problems, pedestrian and bicycle issues, micro-mobility issues, signage, pavement markings, signals, and areas that may need an increased law enforcement presence. 

Since 1994, the FDOT District Two CTSP has effectively identified local crash problems and provided solutions.