What You Need to Know About Florida’s “Seat Belt Defense”

In Florida, driving without a seat belt has become a primary offense, which means that an officer may now pull you over if they have a suspicion that you are not wearing one. This is different then in the past because before driving without a seat belt was labeled as a secondary offense, and you could not be pulled over for merely not wearing it and can only be cited when another offense was observed.

The fine for not wearing a safety belt in Florida is $100 and is of a considerable amount to help encourage motorists to wear their safety belts.

If you are in a car accident in Florida and you are not wearing a seat belt there are some legal ramifications that you should be aware of. If you are the victim of a car accident and you are not wearing your seat belt then the attorney of the person who hit you may raise Florida’s “seat belt defense” in an attempt to decrease your claim. 

The theory behind this defense is that you would have been harmed less if you had been wearing a seat belt and that the injuries you received are a result of your own neglect and not the offending driver’s. If the defendant can show that there was a fully operational, but unutilized seat belt in the victim’s car then Florida law allows for the decrease of the overall claim size paid out.

Besides the legal and financial implications of not wearing your safety belt there is an even greater reason and that is your own personal safety. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles the safety belt law will help prevent around 1,700 serious car accident injuries, and in addition to that around 140 car accident deaths on the road per year. With statistics as promising as that it is easy to see how the safety belt law will help to make Florida’s highways a safer place. 

Anytime you step into a vehicle the first thing that you do, should be to put on your seat belt. It has been proven time and time again that the number one thing that may save you in a car accident is your safety belt, as it retrains you from receiving blunt trauma from hard surfaces in the car.

If you have been hurt in a Daytona Beach car accident caused by another driver, you need to be aware that you may have certain rights and recourses. For more information, contact a Daytona Beach car accident attorney at the Law Offices of Johnson and Gilbert at 1-800-556-8890.