There are rules and regulations everywhere you look, and it’s important to be cognizant of the law. As they say, ‘Ignorance of the law is no excuse’, and a number of laws are important to know and understand.
In this series of articles, we will be explaining some of the laws with which you should probably be familiar, and this article discusses Florida Seat Belt laws.
The safety belt is your vehicle’s best safety feature, but it only works if you use it. Wearing your seat belt in Florida became a primary offense with The Dori Slosberg and Katie Marchetti Safety Belt Law on June 30, 2009.
This law requires that all drivers, all front seat passengers and all passengers under the age of 18 fasten their safety belts. Drivers and passengers 18 or older can be cited if they, or any passenger under the age of 18, are not properly strapped in, and drivers will be charged with a seat belt violation if any passenger under the age of 18 is not restrained with a seat belt or child restraint device.
Since 2013, the percentage of fatalities in which the person was not wearing a seatbelt has gone down six percent, so seat belts save lives, but only if worn correctly every time you are in a motor vehicle.
In a crash, your seat belt keeps you from being ejected from the vehicle, from being thrown against other passengers, the steering wheel or the windshield, and behind the wheel where you can control the vehicle.
Wear your lap belt around your hips and wear your shoulder belt across your chest- the seat belt will not work if it is tucked behind you, and airbags are no substitute for seat belts.
In Florida, on average, 41 percent of those who were killed in crashes in vehicles where seat belt use is required chose not to wear their one.
That means hundreds of people who died on Florida roads had the option to wear a seat belt but didn’t, and men were more than twice as likely to be killed in a crash not wearing a seat belt than females.
To make the message click, parents must model safe driving habits for their children. Teach your kids that we are never too old, never too cool and never too busy to buckle up. No matter how short the trip, there is no substitute for seat belts.
Every time you get in a vehicle, no matter where you are sitting, buckle up. That click reduces your risk of being injured or killed in a crash by almost 50 percent.
The Florida Highway Patrol and law enforcement across the state participate in the national enforcement campaign, ‘Click it or Ticket’, to encourage safety belt use.
Florida law requires the use of safety belts for all drivers and passengers in all motorized vehicles, except:
- When a person certified with a physician as having a medical condition that causes seat belt use to be inappropriate or dangerous. You must keep a copy of certification while driving/being driven.
2. Employee of a newspaper home delivery service while delivering newspapers.
3. School buses purchased new prior to December 31, 2000.
4. Buses used for transportation of persons for compensation.
5. Farm equipment.
6. Trucks of a net weight of more than 26,000 pounds.
A seat belt (without a booster seat) may only be used for children 4-5 years of age when the driver is not a member of the child’s immediate family and the child is being transported as a favor or in an emergency.
This series is not meant to constitute legal advice, and you should always consult an attorney when in doubt, when making life-changing legal decisions or when accused of a crime. If you have a suggestion for an article, please submit your idea in email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greg Wilson is an attorney practicing law in the greater Panama City, Florida area, with offices in Marianna, Chipley, Bonifay, Blountstown and Panama City. For more information please call Greg Wilson at 850-600-7088 or visit his website at www.GregWilsonLawFirm.com.