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Seat Belt Laws in Florida

Buckle Up It's The Law

The answer to this question is almost always “yes” and for good reason. According to the American Automobile Association (AAA) website, about 33,000 people are killed each year in motor vehicle crashes. And according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car crashes are the leading cause of death for people ages 11 through 27. Additionally, NHTSA found that seat belts are the single most effective means of reducing the risk of death in an automobile crash with 45 to 60 percent effectiveness, and that seat belts have saved nearly 300,000 lives in the United States since 1975.

Recently, former Miss New Jersey and Miss America contestant, Cara McCollum, died of injuries sustained in a one car accident a week earlier. State police report that Ms. McCollum was not wearing her seatbelt at the time of the crash. However, the exact cause of her injuries has yet to be determined and it’s unknown if he failure to wear a seat belt was a factor.

Florida has a Primary Seatbelt Law. Primary (or “standard”) seat belt laws allow law enforcement to pull over a driver for not wearing his or her seatbelt. Primary seatbelt laws have been proven very effective in increasing seat belt usage. Thirty-four states and the District of Columbia have front seat primary seat belt laws. While 15 states provide that their seat belt laws are “secondarily enforced,” meaning police officers must stop the vehicle for another violation before they can issue a seat belt summons. New Hampshire is the only state that does not have seat belt laws for people over the age of 17.

In 2014 NHTSA found that about 90% of people wear their seat belts in states with primary enforcement laws but only 79% of people wear their seat belts in states with secondary enforcement laws. Teens and impaired drivers are likely to have lower usage rates.

Florida’s Safety Belt laws are found in section 316.614 Florida Statutes. Florida Statutes § 316.614(4) states that it is unlawful for any person: (a) To operate a motor vehicle in this state unless each passenger and the operator of the vehicle under the age of 18 years are restrained by a safety belt or by a child restraint device pursuant to Section 316.613, if applicable; or (b) To operate a motor vehicle in this state unless the person is restrained by a safety belt. Additionally, it is unlawful for any person 18 years of age or older to be a passenger in the front seat of a motor vehicle unless such person is restrained by a safety belt when the vehicle is in motion.

Under Florida’s Seat Belt Law a “motor vehicle” does not include: a school bus, a bus used for the transportation of persons for compensation, a farm tractor or implement of husbandry, a truck having a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 26,000 pounds, a motorcycle, moped, or bicycle.

If you have any questions about this blog or injuries you or a loved one sustained in an automobile accident please call me for your confidential free consultation at: (786)509-7642. I will take the time to personally discuss your case and your legal rights with you.

Author: James D. Payer, Attorney

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