Miami Car Seat Belt Regulations
If you are a parent, you must know about Miami’s car seat belt laws. This article discusses relevant legislation, safety recommendations, and the potential risks of not wearing a seat belt. Using this information, you’ll know the best ways to keep yourself, your passengers, and your children safe on the road.
If you or a loved one got hurt in an accident in which someone wasn’t wearing a seat belt, one of the Miami car accident attorneys from the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato can help you recover compensation. Reach out to our law firm to begin a free consultation. Dial (954) 633-8270 today.
An Overview of Car Seat Belt Laws in Florida
According to Florida Statutes § 316.614, drivers, front seat passengers, and passengers under age 18 must wear a seat belt at all times in a car. Make sure it is secured properly across your lap and that the shoulder strap goes across your chest. It won’t be effective if you tuck it behind you.
Infants to children around age 12 must use certain car seats for protection. For example, newborns to 3-year-olds must sit in a separate integrated carrier. Four- and 5-year-olds can sit in a booster seat, a separate carrier, or an integrated child seat. From this point until they are aged 10 or 11, they must sit in a booster seat.
Drivers may be fined if a child passenger doesn’t have the proper car seat and seat belt.
Why It’s So Important to Wear a Seat Belt
Wearing a seat belt can be the difference between surviving an accident and losing your life. If you don’t wear one or wear it incorrectly, you may risk:
- Being ejected from a car in an accident
- Getting thrown against the steering wheel, the windshield, or other passengers when hit from behind or on the side
- Losing control of the car on impact
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), about 40% of those who lost their lives in a car accident weren’t wearing a seat belt, even though it was required. FLHSMV further reports that 64 people who didn’t use a seat belt died in crashes in Miami-Dade County in 2016. What’s more, men were twice as likely to die in accidents in which they weren’t wearing seat belts than women.
No matter what, everyone should buckle their seat belt as soon as they get in a car, as it can decrease their risk of suffering an injury or dying in a car crash by about 50 percent.
Car Accident Injuries You Can Sustain From Not Wearing a Seat Belt
You might suffer serious or even fatal injuries if you don’t wear a seat belt as a driver or passenger in a vehicle. Examples include the following:
- Facial injuries, especially from the impact of the airbag deploying
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Fractures or broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
- Crushing injuries
On top of the physical injuries, the trauma of the car accident can take an emotional and mental toll on the victims. Some may suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or experience phobias about driving or getting into a car.
If Not Wearing a Car Seat Belt Can Affect Your Miami Accident Claim
If you weren’t wearing a seat belt at the time of an accident, it might affect your claim against the other driver. They, their insurance provider, and/or their legal team could say you made your injuries worse by failing to use your seat belt, and as a result, they should not be held liable for your damages.
Don’t worry if they make this argument. If you can prove the other driver was negligent, you can seek compensation. Negligence consists of four main parts:
- Duty of care: The other party was to act with care and your safety in mind.
- Breach of duty: They failed to act in a way that any reasonable person in the same situation would have.
- Causation: This negligence triggered a crash that led to your injuries.
- Damages: You’ve suffered financially, emotionally, and physically because of the crash.
A Florida car accident lawyer from our firm can help you prove each of these elements with evidence. Photographs of the crash, available traffic camera footage, medical records, accident report, traffic citations, and witness statements are all common examples.
Common Damages You Can Seek in a Miami Car Accident Case
If you were hurt in a car accident in Miami, you may qualify to recoup your losses from the liable party. Typical forms of available compensation include the following:
- Past and anticipated medical bills
- Lost income, including tips, commissions, bonuses, and employee benefits
- Future loss or earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage costs
- Mental anguish
Families who lose their loved ones to car accident injuries could receive compensation in a wrongful death case. On their behalf, the decedent’s personal representative can seek a financial recovery for funeral and burial, final medical bills, and loss of financial support, as well as loss of consortium, companionship, or household services.
One of our attorneys can review the damages you sustained and quantify each of them accordingly. Once they’ve come up with a number, they can request that amount from the insurer. Usually, they don’t agree on the first one, so we can negotiate with them until we find common ground.
Questions Clients Frequently Ask About Car Seat Belt Laws in Miami
Over the past two decades, clients have asked our team various questions about car seat belt laws to better protect their children, especially in the case of an accident. Below is a list of some of the most frequently asked questions.
What Are Car Seat Belt Laws?
The state doesn’t enforce any laws regarding height and weight when it comes to choosing a car seat. Instead, it imposes age limits. According to Florida Statutes § 316.613, the most basic child seat belt laws include:
- Children up to 3 years old must sit in a restraint seat separate from the vehicle’s integrated child seat.
- Children aged 4 and 5 may sit in an integrated child seat, a separate carrier, or a booster seat.
When Can a Child Use a Regular Seat Belt?
Children aged 6 and up can continue to sit in a booster seat or use an integrated seat belt. However, some children may not be big enough to use an adult seat belt. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), you’ll know it’s time for your child to stop using the booster seat when:
- They are between 8 and 12 years old.
- They’re at least 4’9”.
- The lap and shoulder seat belt fits properly.
Make sure they can bend their knees at the end of the seat, rest their back comfortably against the seat without slouching, and sit comfortably during the entire ride. Usually, children stop using a booster seat around 10 or 11 years old.
Have your child sit in the back seat until they are 13 years old.
What Are the Regulations for Booster Seats?
Florida law permits children to start using a booster seat when they are 4 years old. Some indications that will let you know they’re ready for a booster seat include the following:
- Your child has outgrown their forward-facing car seat, specifically the harness.
- Your child’s height ranges from 2’11” to 4’9”.
- Your child weighs between 40 and 80 pounds.
- Your child cannot bend their knees when they sit up straight with their back against the seat.
Who Is Exempt From Wearing a Car Seat Belt?
According to the FLHSMV, you do not have to wear a seat belt if:
- You have a medical condition that makes seat belt use dangerous or unnecessary. Your doctor must certify you for this exception, and you must have it on your person whenever you drive.
- You’re employed at a newspaper delivery service. You must be delivering newspapers to not wear a seat belt.
- You’re driving a truck that has a new weight of upwards of 26,000 pounds.
- You’re driving a school bus that dates before 2000, or you’re transporting passengers via a bus for compensation
- You’re driving or riding on farming equipment.
Can a Driver Be Fined for Not Wearing a Seat Belt in a Car?
Yes, since a driver must wear a seat belt in a car, they will receive a non-moving violation and a fine if they violate this law.
Learn More About Car Seat Belt Laws in Miami With Our Lawyers Today
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a car accident and want to find out more about how car seat belt laws in Miami play a role in your accident, you can work with a Miami car accident lawyer from the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato today. We offer free initial consultations to all potential clients and take cases on a contingency fee basis. That way, you have nothing to lose when you hire us. We recover compensation only if we win your case.