Are seat belts required in Florida? According to seat belt laws near you in Florida, seat belts are required. However, the rules and laws can vary depending on where you sit in a vehicle (front seats vs rear seats), and the age of the passenger.
Wearing a seatbelt while driving or riding in a car should be second nature to most people. Not only is it the law in most states, but, like vehicle airbags, wearing a seatbelt can also save your life.
Florida Seat Belt Laws for Front Seats
Drivers and front-seat passengers are required to wear seat belts in Florida. It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle without wearing a seatbelt. 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.
Florida Seat Belt Laws for Back Seats
Do you have to wear a seatbelt in the backseat in Florida? According to seat belt laws in Florida, adults (18 and over) back seat rear passengers are not required to wear seat belts. However, 29 states and the District of Columbia require that adult backseat passengers wear seat belts.
Children under 18 are required to wear seat belts regardless of where they are in the motor vehicle. Failure to have a child in a seat belt or a car seat is a primary offense.
The idea 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.
Risks of Not Wearing a Seat Belt in a Vehicle
We all know wearing a seat belt in the car is the safest choice. In the United States, close to 90% of people wear seat belts. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belt usage saved close to 15,000 lives in 2017 alone.
Unbelted passengers increase 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 on the driver seat can cause the driver to 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. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), seatbelt use reduces serious crash-related injuries and death by about half. More than half of teens and adults who died in car accidents in 2016 were not buckled up at the time of the crash. Florida’s lack of a law requiring the use of seat belts in the rear of the car sets a dangerous example. Because rear seat belts are not required for adults in Florida, many people feel they are safe in the back seat without a seat belt.
Can Not Wearing a Seatbelt Affect Your Personal Injury Claim?
If you are seriously injured in a car accident as the result of another driver’s negligence, you may still have a claim against the driver even if you weren’t wearing your seatbelt at the time of the accident. However, the fact that you weren’t wearing a seatbelt could be used as proof that you were at least partially responsible for your own injury. Florida is a modified comparative negligence state. This means that if you are found to be no more than 50% at fault for the injury, your recovery is reduced by the same proportion as your percentage of fault. As an example, if you are found to be 20% at fault in an injury, you may still recover 80% of your damages in a lawsuit. If, however, your percentage of fault is found to be more than 50%, you are barred from any recovery under the law.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Near You In Florida Today – No Obligation!
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, consult with an experienced car accident attorney near you. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we have been helping car accident victims for over 30 years. Contact us online or call us at 800-538-4878 to set up your free, no-obligation consultation today.
Learn more on When Can Kids Sit in the Front Seat in Florida.
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