Wearing safety belts saves lives. It’s impossible to argue with this fact, and yet somehow people still have a problem with wearing them. Some people are absent-minded and forget to buckle up, while others just flat out refuse, protesting what they think is an unimportant law. Some people justify their seat belt negligence by telling themselves, “I’m just going on a short trip.”
Obviously, none of these are valid excuses. Violating the Florida seat belt law is a ticketable offense, and Florida is serious about protecting this law. Guess why? According to Click It or Ticket Florida, 1,450 people were killed in seatbelt-equipped vehicles in 2010 alone— and more than half of them were not wearing those safety belts.
Florida Seat Belt Laws
Florida traffic law clearly states that all passengers in the front seats must wear their safety belts at all times. In addition, all passengers under the age of 18 must wear their safety belts, regardless of where they are sitting in the vehicle. This law applies to all cars, pickup trucks, and vans that operate on Florida roads. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FL DHSMV) spells out the details on their web site.
Florida’s safety belt law was first introduced in 1986, but back then officers could only cite drivers for seat belt violations if they stopped them initially for other violations. An amendment to the law changed that, though, and today an officer can both stop you and cite you for a safety belt violation alone.
Florida Child Restraint Law
Florida is adamant about their Child Restraint Laws. All children age 3 and under must at all times be securely fastened into a federally-approved child restraint seat. If the child is ages 4 or 5, they must be either secured into a federally-approved child restraint seat or a safety belt.
The responsibility for ensuring the child passenger is appropriately restrained falls to the driver of the vehicle, whether they are the parent or legal guardian or not. Even if the parent is sitting shotgun, the child’s restraint is the driver’s duty.
Penalties and Fines for Violation of Florida Seat Belt Law
In the state of Florida, the price you pay for a seatbelt violation is $30. That’s a moderately-priced dinner for two! It’s two movie tickets and a jumbo popcorn! It’s 25 Redbox movie rentals! It’s a Dollar Store shopping spree! Do you see where I’m going with this? It may seem like a small amount of money, but I bet you don’t have to think too hard to come up with a better way to spend it.
Oh, and the violation for an improperly-restrained child is $60. So, you know, dinner for four, etc.
You can learn more about the safety belt laws, and safe driving in general, from an online defensive driving course. If you really need more incentive to wear your safety belt, consider this: If you’re thrown from your vehicle because you weren’t wearing your seat belt, the risk of death is five times greater. It’s just not worth the risk.