We all know wearing a seat belt in the car is the safest choice. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belt usage saved close to 15,000 lives in 2017 alone. In the United States, close to 90% of people wear a seat belt. Under Florida law drivers and front-seat passengers are required to wear seat belts. Failing to wear a seat belt is a primary offense, meaning police can pull a driver over for not wearing a seat belt even if they weren’t committing any other traffic offenses. What does the law say regarding back seat passengers?
Back Seat Passengers
Under Florida law, passengers who are aged 18 and over are not required to wear seat belts. Children under 18 are required to wear seat belts regardless of where they are in the vehicle. Failure to have a child in a seat belt or a car seat is a primary offense.
Adult back seat rear passengers are not required to wear seat belts in Florida. The idea, however, that the back seat is somehow less dangerous than the front seat is false. The laws of physics are not suspended just because you are in the back seat. An unrestrained passenger can still be hurled into the seat in front of them.
Unbelted passengers increases the risk of injury or death to other occupants of the vehicle by 40%. The impact of a passenger on the seat in front of them can be very dangerous to the passenger and to others in the car. Impact with the driver seat can cause the driver to then hit the steering wheel. In addition, in a side-impact crash, an unbelted driver in the back seat can slam into the passenger sitting next to them.
Federal crash statistics find that passengers in the rear are three times more likely to die in a car accident if they fail to wear a seat belt. Florida’s lack of a law requiring the use of seat belts in the rear of the car sets a dangerous example. Because it is not required, many people feel they are safe in the back seat without a seat belt. Currently, 29 states and the District of Columbia require that adult back seat passengers wear seat belts.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you should consult with an experienced car accident attorney. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we have been helping car accident victims for over 30 years. Contact us online or call us at 800-753-5203 to set up your free, no-obligation consultation today.