While the number of deaths and injuries arising from car accidents has significantly reduced over the years, there are still thousands of people who lose their lives every year. In the past, the leading cause of road accidents was poor vehicle safety features, but that’s not the case anymore. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), half the people who die from road crashes each year don’t have any safety restraints at the time of the accident. To put it in context, the number of reported deaths from motor vehicle accidents in 2018 was 33,654. Out of these deaths, 14,990 lives could have been saved by simply wearing seat belts!
Laws on Wearing Seat Belts
Like every other state, Florida has comprehensive seat belt safety laws geared towards protecting the lives of drivers and their passengers in case of collisions. Among the legal requirements is that all persons aged 15 and above must wear a seat belt whenever they’re in a moving vehicle. Another provision states that all children – basically 17 and under, have to either be secured with a seat belt, or a child car safety seat whenever they are in a moving vehicle.
Nonetheless, there are a few exceptions to the law that are worth noting. For one, people who cannot wear seat belts (due to medical reasons) are exempted from doing so, as long as they present a statement from their doctor. Conditional exceptions are also extended to people who perform jobs that require frequent alighting and boarding of vehicles. These include delivery workers, meter readers, and U.S. postal service personnel.
Penalties for Not Wearing A Seat Belt
While seat belt laws have been in place for quite a long time, they have not been implemented as they should. However, with more eyes looking towards seat belt safety as a way of saving lives on the road, you can expect more police checks and citations. According to the law, the responsibility of making sure every passenger is buckled up lies with the driver. Similarly, parents or, in their absence, other adults in the car, are responsible for ensuring that all kids are properly restrained. Failure to comply with these provisions will attract a misdemeanor charge that is punishable with a fine of up to $200. Further, parents who fail to fasten their children while driving may be reported to the Florida Department of Children and Families for negligence.
How Seat Belts Prevent Injuries
Statistics show that motor vehicle accidents are the number one killer for people below the age of 34. One common cause of death in car crashes is traumatic brain injury, which typically occurs when the head forcefully hits the dashboard, windshield, or vehicle body. Wearing a seat belt prevents your body from moving too much or getting ejected from the car during a crash, which in turn helps to minimize potential trauma injuries and concussions. Moreover, people with seat belts are likely to survive rollover accidents compared to those who were not properly buckled up. As such, it is essential to make sure that the car you are driving or riding on has functional seat belts, and that you carry, and use a child passenger safety seat whenever you are traveling with your child.
Legal Redress After Injury
Wearing seat belts can help avoid severe injuries, but can’t entirely prevent accidents from happening. If you find yourself involved in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you need to consult an auto accident lawyer for advice and guidance on the way forward.