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 safety 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
Click here to download a printable version of our Buckle Up and Slow Down poster.

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. 

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 our Buckle Up and Slow Down printable POSTER and square social media GRAPHIC. You may print this flyer as a handout tip card, include it in an email or newsletter, or post it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us on Facebook and Instagram @trafficsafetyteam and on Twitter and LinkedIn @trafficsafetyfl and 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:

Occupant Protection

Seat belt usage remains the most effective way to reduce injuries and fatalities from crashes on our roadways. The Community Traffic Safety Teams in Northeast Florida continue to promote occupant protection and buckling up as a safety tool and a safe lifestyle. Buckling up is not just a trend; it’s a necessity, and “It’s the law.” We feel it’s imperative to continue to promote strong occupant protection messaging.

Buckle Up – Occupant Protection Campaign Graphics

occupant protection banners and posters
2023 Buckle Up Banners and Posters

New Occupant Protection materials are available at no cost in FDOT District Two.

After three years, our “Phone Down / Buckle Up” and “Safety Belts Save Lives” messages remain popular. However, we refreshed the look with brighter colors and modern styles. Help share these free banners and posters in your District Two community and display them inside and outside your organization. Please also distribute them to local events, businesses, or agencies that would also be willing to display them. Click here to place your Northeast Florida order online. 

Because of the increase in our Northeast Florida population, maintaining a solid presence for occupant protection is more critical than ever. Buckling up is the single most effective thing people can do to protect themselves in the event of a crash. Safety belts have been proven to save lives, but they only work if used. 

Below are digital graphics to download and share. Together we can make wearing safety belts a way of life for everyone. Please tag us! @trafficsafetyteam on Facebook and Instagram or @trafficsafetyfl on Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Hashtag #BuckleUpFL #TrafficSafetyFL

Buckle Up – Social Media Files:

occupant protection, Safety Belts Save Lives, Always Buckle Up
Safety Belts Save Lives 2023
distracted driving, occupant protection, Phone Down, Buckle Up
Phone Down, Buckle Up 2023
speeding, aggressive drivers, occupant protection, Country Buckle Up Belt and Slow Down Belt Buckle
Buckle Up and Slow Down 2024

2020-2022 Occupant Protection Designs

  • Retro Style – Phone Down. Buckle Up.
  • EKG Lifeline – Safety Belts Save Lives. Always Buckle Up!
  • Seat Belt Angel – Be Prepared. Be Protected. Buckle Up Religiously!
2’x5′ Buckle Up Banners from 2020
Buckle Up Pop-Up Banner Stands from 2021
Phone Down, Buckle Up 2020
Always Buckle Up 2020
Buckle Up Religiously 2020

Buckle Up Banners About Town

The “Buckle Up” artwork is printed as an 11″x17″ poster, a 2’x5′ banner, and a 3’x6.5′ pop-up banner stand. All materials are in full color and beautiful to display. They are available, while supplies last, to our Northeast FDOT District Two Traffic Safety Team members, partners, organizations, agencies, businesses, and local community groups. Check out some of the occupant protection banners displayed throughout the 18 counties in District Two.


Additional Occupant Protection Resources: