Demand for travel to Florida has rebounded quickly from its pandemic-era lows. As more tourists and business travelers visit the Sunshine State, count on clogged highways and the potential for more car accidents.
So, it certainly makes sense to buckle up!
We asked Miami-based personal injury attorneys at The Soffer Firm to share additional insight into seat belt laws in Florida. Read on to learn what all tourists and business travelers should know.
The Seat Belt Rule in Florida
Since July 2009, the wearing of seat belts by all drivers, front-seat passengers, and passengers under 18 (irrespective of whether they are sitting in the front or the back) has been compulsory.
Exceptions to the Rule
The following categories are exempt from wearing a seat belt in Florida:
- An adult rear-seat passenger.
- A person certified as having a medical condition that, in the opinion of a medical practitioner, causes seat belt use to be inappropriate or dangerous.
- Farm equipment.
- Buses used to transport people for compensation.
- School buses purchased new before December 31, 2000.
- Employee of a newspaper home delivery service while delivering newspapers.
- Trucks of a net weight of more than 26,000 pounds.
Safety Belts and Child Restraints
In Florida, children aged five and under must be secured using child restraint devices. Children in child seats, booster seats, and separate carriers must be placed in the rear seat. Front seat airbags are dangerous for children, and no child should be seated in the front seat of a vehicle until they are at least 12 years old.
Can you be pulled over for a seatbelt offense in Florida?
In Florida, you may be pulled over for a seatbelt offense. The traffic officer can issue you with a fine for failure to wear a seatbelt by you or any of your passengers.
Primary vs. Secondary Enforcement Laws – What is the difference?
Seat belt use laws are categorized as either primary or secondary. Traffic officers can enforce primary enforcement laws, pull you over, and issue a ticket for the primary offense. This applies to the non-wearing of seat belts – you can be pulled over, and a traffic officer can ticket you and your passengers for failure to wear a seat belt.
By contrast, secondary enforcement will only allow a traffic officer to issue a ticket for the offense if the driver has been pulled over for another primary offense. The office may not pull the driver over on suspicion of the commission of a secondary offense. Seat belt use laws have been categorized in Florida as primary enforcement laws since 2009.
How much are the fines for not wearing a seatbelt in Florida?
In 2022, in Florida, the current fine for failure to wear a seat belt is $35. If there are passengers under the age of 18 and they are not wearing seat belts, the vehicle driver will be fined for each person not wearing a seatbelt or not being properly restrained. In the case of minors, the fine is even higher, at up to $60 per violation. Three points will be deducted for seat belt violations on the driver’s license. The driver can have these points restored by attending driver safety school.
Questions about seat belt laws in Florida?
If you have questions about seat belt laws in Florida, contact an experienced attorney in your area. The failure to use a seatbelt in a car accident can affect the liability and the award made. Experienced and highly specialized personal injury lawyers are well-versed in the implications of seat belt negligence and can advise you.
Seat Belts and Personal Injury Claims
If you seek compensation through a personal injury claim, the fact that you were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident can complicate matters. The other party will most likely cite your failure to wear a seat belt as a reason for the injury, or they may claim that your failure exacerbated the injury suffered. If the jury decides that your failure to wear a seat belt puts some of the blame at your door, then they may reduce the award proportionate to the blame. This could be significant, especially in a severe accident. However, it may be possible to avoid any reduction in the award where doctors and medical professionals confirm that the reason and extent of the injury have nothing to do with the failure to wear the seat belt.
Buckle up – It’s the Law
In Florida, if you are under the age of 18, you are required by law to wear your seat belt. If you are 18 or older, it is required by law to wear your seatbelt in the front seat but not in the backseat. As a result, there has been a push to increase seat belt usage, and a widespread campaign called Click It or Ticket was launched. The idea is to teach people to always buckle up, no matter how long or short the intended trip is meant to be. The statistics speak for themselves. Wearing a seatbelt has saved countless lives.
Jeremy Biberdorf is a long-time internet marketing pro turned online entrepreneur and blogger. Check out his investing blog at Modest Money.
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