School Traffic Camera Enforcement

Effective July 1, 2023, Florida law allows camera enforcement of school zone speed limits and illegal passing of school buses. School traffic camera enforcement has been a topic of discussion for our Northeast Florida communities and Traffic Safety Team members.

FDOT District Two Traffic Operations Engineer Jim Hannigan explained the proposed guidelines. He answered questions during a recent Districtwide Team meeting. 

Pursuant to Section 316.0776, Florida Statutes (F.S.), the FDOT may approve the placement or installation of a Speed Detection System (SDS) in a School Zone on the State Highway System (SHS), as defined in Section 334.03(24), F.S. SDS installations on the SHS must be authorized through a General Use Permit in accordance with Rule 14-20.010 of the Florida Administrative Code. This is similar to the process used for Automated License Plate Recognition (LPR) Systems and Traffic Infraction Detectors (Red Light Running Cameras).  

Please visit the FDOT School Zone Speed Detection System webpage to read an overview of the process and criteria, which include:

  • Placement and Installation Specifications
  • Special Provisions for General Use Permit
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact Information

Planning for School Traffic Camera Enforcement in Florida

Enforcement of School Zone Speed Limits Law, News, and Information:

Enforcement of School Bus Passing Violations Law, News, and Information:

If you know of any other local municipalities in Northeast Florida that plan to install and maintain cameras for enforcement, please let us know.

Additional School Bus Safety Resources for Drivers and Student Passengers:

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.

Defensive Driving Tools for Safety

Defensive Driving Tools for Safety was written and presented by Jeff Hohlstein, a Community Traffic Safety Team member in Clay County, Florida. This educational driving and traffic safety presentation is geared toward aging road users. However, these are essential tips and reminders for all drivers.

Flip through the Defensive Driving Tools for Safety Presentation:

Learn about setting side view mirrors for blind spots. Understand the importance of keeping a safe following distance and obeying the speed limit. Maintaining a safe following distance is a good idea for all drivers to keep in mind. While this rule is flexible and isn’t always appropriate in every driving situation, it can foster good driving habits that reduce the risk of rear-end collisions and similar accidents. In addition, being a safe driver can earn discounts on auto insurance premiums.

Gain an understanding of observing a vehicle’s front wheels, approaching intersections safely, and scanning through a signalized intersection. Learn how to use the OODA Loop while driving. OODA is an acronym for Observe, Orient, Decide, Act. When you do it again and again, it becomes a constant decision loop. Retired Colonel John Boyd, USAF, developed this rapid decision-making tool. Today, OODA is used by many Armed Forces and Police agencies and can be used as a defensive driving tool for motorists.

Most people set their side view mirrors straight back and miss their blind spot completely. The video covers how to set your side view mirrors to cover your blind spot.

This video discusses how to use OODA to stay safe while driving. Defensive driving is much about managing space around your vehicle. The most controllable area you have is your safe following distance. OODA will help you do that right. OODA will also help you develop scan patterns for navigating intersections and avoiding a collision when someone unsafely enters your right-of-way.  

Uses of OODA in defensive driving:

  • Observe > Following distance, traffic patterns; intersections of all kinds; vehicles around you.
  • Orient > Calculate the following distance; identify other potential conflicts.
  • Decide > Action to maintain safe following distance; plan to avoid those other conflicts.
  • Act > Establish/reestablish safe following distance; avoid those other conflicts whether or not the crash would have been your fault.
  • Do it again > Practice OODA until it’s as natural as driving itself.
Jeff Hohlstein presenting Defensive Driving Tools for Safety

Click here to read Jeff Hohlstein’s first article, Three Defensive Driving Tools to Avoid Great Impact, and what the video presentation from 2020.

Traffic Safety for Children

Safety rules at home, school and around the neighborhood. The Northeast Florida Department of Transportation District Two Community Traffic Safety Program has developed special educational content highlighting traffic safety for children. It is never too early to educate kids on safety rules – at home, at school, and around the neighborhood.

Materials include the “Safety Town” activity booklet, coloring pages, social media graphics, and videos. Please share these free resources with children in your family, classroom, or neighborhood!

Free Traffic Safety Coloring Sheets & Activity Book for Children:

Traffic Safety Videos for Kids:

Great Safety Tips for Kids:

Stroll and Roll the Right Way!

  • Walk & ride during the day when it is light out.
  • Have a buddy with you.
  • Don’t enter the road between parked cars.
  • Cross the street at a corner or crosswalk.
  • Look left, right, & left again before crossing a street.
  • Sidewalks are the safest place to walk or ride.
  • Wear a helmet every time you bike or skate.
  • Ride your bike with the flow of traffic.
  • Obey traffic signs & signals.

Children Must Wear a Bike Helmet… It’s the Law!

Florida state law requires all riders under 16 years of age to wear a helmet when on a bicycle. Additionally, any bicycle passenger aged 16 or younger, like small children riding in a bike seat or trailer, must also wear a helmet. This applies if they are on the sidewalk, road or other public roadway. The helmet must meet federal guidelines. All bike helmets should be properly fitted and securely fastened on the head with a strap.

Stranger Danger!

  • Never go up to a car or to someone you don’t know.
  • Have a safe place and people you can go to in an emergency.

Traffic Safety Storytime Videos for Children:

Educating children on traffic safety is vital, so we made traffic safety storytime videos. Two of the videos were read by kids, for kids! The books include “Watch Out On the Road,” “Learn About Road Safety,” “Look Left, Look Right, Look Left Again,” “Be Careful and Stay Safe,” and “Franklin Rides a Bike.”


More traffic safety resources and activity sheets for children can be found by visiting the link  below:

National School Bus Safety Week

National School Bus Safety Week (NSBSW) usually takes place the third week in October. The Northeast Florida Community Traffic Safety Program highlights 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.*

School's Open - Drive Carefully art

Also in honor of National School Bus Safety Week, we would 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.
  • 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.
  • Divided highway where no median or barrier exists: all vehicles are mandated to stop.
School bus dangers art

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 the 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 Safety Information and Resources for Drivers and Children:

*source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration