During the nineties, there was no noticeable increase in seat belt usage across Florida. As of the year 2000, Florida motorists started wearing seat belts in larger numbers as authorities stepped up enforcement. It was finally in 2009, when compulsory safety belt usage became a Primary Law, that substantial progress was achieved to reach an overall belt use rate, for drivers and passengers combined, of 88.1 percent in June 2011. During the same period, the number of fatal accidents in Florida declined correspondingly.

A recently completed Florida-wide study leads to interesting conclusions when the collected data is broken down by category:

Roadway type: Predictably, seat belt use is highest on Interstates (89.6 percent) and lowest on city or neighborhood "collector" roads (85 percent). Higher traffic density and speed on highways and principal arterials explain this.

Gender: Male occupants are less likely to buckle up (85.3 percent) than female occupants, and male passengers seat belt use was 5.9 percent lower than male drivers'. The discrepancy between female passengers and drivers is much lower (0.8 percent).

Vehicle type: Also very significant is the safety belt use rate in various types of passenger cars. Vans score the highest rate (89.9 percent), followed by SUVs (89.7 percent), cars (88.7 percent) and pickup trucks at a distance (80.9 percent). It may be that pickups score badly because males mostly drive them. Passengers in pickups wear seat belts the least often of all occupants (78.1 percent).

Regional: There are also significant regional differences, with Polk County and Orange County scoring 85.9 and 86.3 percent respectively, which compares unfavorably with 92.4 percent in Lee County and 92.1 percent in Collier County.

Having given support to countless victims of car accidents in Duval, Volusia, Brevard, Orange, and Polk counties and in the entire Central region, our firsthand experience has been that seat belt usage is the most important factor in surviving and limiting the injuries resulting from a serious car crash.

If you have been hurt in a car, truck or motorcycle accident caused by someone else, call the Daytona Beach attorneys of Johnson & Gilbert PA today toll free at (800) 556-8890 and locally at (386) 673-4412 , or send our lawyers an email to arrange a free consultation.