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:

Teen Drivers Speeding

The Northeast Florida Community Traffic Safety Team examines the tragic trend of teen drivers speeding.

Teens and Speeding: Breaking the Deadly Cycle Report

In January, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), in partnership with Ford Motor Company Fund, released a new report, Teens and Speeding: Breaking the Deadly Cycle.  The new analysis for GHSA found that from 2015 to 2019, teen drivers and passengers (16-19 years of age) accounted for a greater proportion of speeding-related fatalities (43%) than all other age groups (30%). During this five-year period, 4,930 teen drivers and passengers died in speeding-related crashes in the United States.

Recently, we created and shared a video of a local teen driver. He shared his reasons not to speed after receiving a hefty speeding citation. His story is a positive one as no one was hurt. Unfortunately, there are too many injuries and fatalities among teenage drivers and passengers.

Teen Driver Statistics in FDOT District Two

FDOT District Two had 6,928 total teen driver crashes in 2019. Despite a strong Graduated Driver License (GDL) law in Florida, we are still experiencing a high volume of teen crashes. Below are some more statistics on teen drivers in our communities.

The numbers of crashes with injuries increase as inexperienced teen drivers get more confident and start showing careless driving behaviors like speeding. Males and females injured in teen driver crashes are about even. Serious injuries and fatalities are predominantly male, by almost double. Duval County, with the higher populated–urban areas, illustrates a drastic increase of injuries and fatalities among teen drivers. Together, our traffic safety community, partners, parents and caregivers can help reduce risky and careless teen driving through education, training, and law enforcement.

More Teens and Speeding Reports

Click here to read the complete GHSA news release: As Traffic Deaths Spike During COVID-19, New Report Examines Unsettling Trend of Teen Drivers Speeding – and Dying – on America’s Roads.

Click here for the full GHSA and Ford Motor Company Fund PDF report: Teens and Speeding: Breaking the Deadly Cycle, which examines the significant role speeding plays in teen driver fatalities and offers practical tools to help parents rein in this lethal driving habit.

Additional Teen Drivers Speeding Resources:
Florida Teen Safe Driving Coaltion
FDOT State Safety Office – Speeding and Aggressive Driving