Florida’s New Primary Seatbelt Law

Last week Florida joined 25 other states that have made wearing seatbelts a primary offense which allows law enforcement to pull a driver over. Previously, there had to be some other reason to pull a driver over, with the seat belt violation as a secondary offense. Now an officer can write you a ticket for $100.

Seatbelts save lives and there is no debate on that point. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration believes that 1,700 serious injuries and 140 lives will be saved in Florida due to the primary seat belt law. This new enforcement will not only save lives, but also millions in associated costs which taxpayers ultimately pick up.

Florida’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reports that in 2007, nearly 2,000 people were killed in crashes and 61 percent of them were not wearing a seat belt.

A seat belt saved the life of a Jacksonville woman and the three children she was watching, according to an article. Two weeks ago, her Ford Explorer was traveling south on 9A when the traffic in front of her suddenly slowed, she swerved, then overcorrected and rolled the Explorer twice, landing it atop an overpass with the wheels dangling 40 feet above the road. She and the kids were belted in. One child received a scraped knee.

Compare that to another auto accident in Florida in a Ford Explorer, two weeks ago, when four high school students, cutting school, were thrown from their SUV since none of them were wearing seat belts. Four teens died.

A financial incentive might have been the reason the state legislature approved the law this time around. States were promised a one-time grant if they adopted a primary enforcement law by the end of June. That could amount to more than $35 million.

Neighboring Georgia proved that the law works to save lives. It adopted the primary law in 1995. Before that, Georgia had a fatal accident rate of 2.1 percent per 100 million miles traveled. Four years later, and with more cars on the road, the fatal accident rate dropped to 1.9 percent. Florida still has an uphill climb in seat belt usage. It is ranked 31st out of 50 states in usage at 81.7 percent.

It costs nothing to buckle up, but it could cost you your life not to. Please contact an experienced Jacksonville car accident attorney from Farah and Farah if you have any questions about an auto accident that resulted in injury. Our personal injury law firm has helped countless victims receive compensation after their injury was caused by another driver’s negligence. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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