Fort Myers Car Seat, Booster Seat & Seat Belt Laws
Although most drivers are able to safely operate their motor vehicles to and from their destinations every day, it is always important to prepare for an unexpected situation. This is why many states—including Florida—have passed booster and car seat belt laws to help protect children in the car, and general seat belt rules for adults.
You Can Not Control The Action of Other So, Wearing a Seat Belt is Important
Even if you are a safe and responsible driver, you cannot control the actions of others on the road. For example, if a driver in Fort Myers violates the state’s impaired driving laws, he or she will be putting others on the road in danger. You may not be able to avoid a drunk driver, even if you are driving defensively.
Fortunately, you can take some steps to protect yourself and your children in collisions through the use of safety restraints. Car seat laws are designed to keep your child secure in the vehicle at all times, hopefully reducing the severity of any injuries in the event of an accident. For more information call a Fort Myers car accident lawyer.
Florida Seat Belt Laws
In 2009, the State of Florida passed the Dori Slosberg and Katie Marchetti Safety Belt Law. This law requires the driver, front-seat passengers, and any passengers under the age of 18 to have a fastened safety belt while riding in a motor vehicle.
Should police officers find that anyone under 18 in the vehicle was not wearing a seat belt, the driver could receive a citation. Additionally, those 18 or older can receive a citation themselves if they are not wearing a seat belt in the car.
Since the state’s seat belt law is a primary enforcement law, police officers are able to stop a vehicle any time they see that someone is not wearing a seat belt while the vehicle is in motion.
What Are the Benefits of Wearing Seat Belts in Fort Myers?
A seat belt holds the driver and passengers in place in the car during an accident. Someone not wearing a seat belt could fly toward the front of the car in a collision, potentially suffering an ejection or banging his or her head on the dashboard. These can all lead to life-threatening injuries.
Additionally, the seat belt keeps the driver secure behind the wheel, so he or she can try to maintain control of the car and avoid further damage.
Fort Myers Laws for Child Restraints in the Car
Florida also has specific booster seat belt laws, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV). Some of the laws that drivers must follow regarding children’s safety restraints apply to specific age groups:
- Children ages 0 to 3: Children must be in a child seat that meets federal approval for crash test ratings.
- Children ages 4 to 5: Children of these ages must be in either a child seat or a booster seat, depending on weight and age.
- Children up to age 12: Pre-teens should ride in the back seat of any vehicle, rather than in the front seat. This is because the force from the airbag in the front seat could cause significant injury to a child, should the car end up in an accident in which the airbag deploys.
Some parents may even require that their teenage children ride in the back seat. Children who are shorter and weigh less than average may not be completely safe from the airbag in the front seat, even when they are ages 13 and older.
Finding Help With Child Car Seat Fitting in Fort Myers
Properly installing a car seat in the vehicle can be a challenge. Unless you follow the manufacturer’s instructions precisely, your child’s car seat may not provide the safety features you want. Fortunately, you can visit a Florida Child Protective Seat Fitting Station in Fort Myers or Lee County to ensure the seat is installed properly.
Understanding Fort Myers and Fort Lauderdale Car Seat Rules
A child seat law is extremely important to follow, as violations could result in significant fines for the driver of the vehicle, and severe injuries in the event of an accident. Taking the time to ensure that your children’s booster or car seats are properly installed can reduce the severity of your family’s injuries in a car crash.
If You Suffered Injuries Because of the Negligence of Another Driver
Understand that although the use of restraints inside the car can help keep you and your children safe in a collision, injuries are still possible. If you suffered injuries because of the negligence of another driver, you have the right to seek compensation for medical bills, pain, and suffering. You may want to hire a Fort Myers personal injury attorney to help you negotiate with the other driver’s insurer or take your case to court.
Contact The Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato
At the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato, we are ready to defend the rights of our clients and help them receive the fairest possible settlement. We treat our clients like family. To set up your free consultation, call us at (954) 633-8270 today.
FAQs About Car Seat and Seat Belt Laws in Florida
The attorneys on our team understand what you need to know about car seat and seat belt laws. If you were injured in a crash and need help clarifying these laws, we can help.
For now, here are some answers to common questions about car seat and seat belt laws in Florida.
How Many Deaths Do Seat Belts Cause?
Seat belts are almost never the cause of car accident deaths. In fact, they play a major role in keeping people alive during a crash.
For those who choose not to wear their seat belts, the outcome of an accident can be catastrophic. Both state and federal safety belt data show that the risk of a fatal accident increases substantially when seat belts are not used. Consider these statistics:
- According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, 41% of people killed in Florida car accidents were not wearing their safety belts at the time of the crash.
- This is a national trend as well. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that nearly half of the people who died in vehicle crashes in 2019 were not wearing their seat belts.
On the flip side, the NHTSA reports that nearly 375,000 lives were saved between 1975 and 2017 as a result of proper safety belt use.
Is It Illegal to Not Wear a Seat Belt in the Backseat?
Florida Statutes § 316.614 lists the seat belt laws for drivers and passengers in the state. By law, children under the age of 18 are the only passengers who must be in a child seat or wear a seat belt while in the backseat.
For adults over 18, Florida law does not require that you wear a seat belt in the backseat—however, the statistics above confirm that the extra protection can help save your life.
Who Is Exempt From Florida Seat Belt Laws?
Some people are exempt from Florida’s seat belt laws. These include:
- People with a certified medical condition that makes wearing a seat belt inappropriate or dangerous
- Passengers in school buses or other types of buses
- Occupants in trucks weighing over 26,000 pounds
- Rural workers in postal vehicles
- Workers in waste management vehicles
- Occupants of farm tractors
Other exemptions may also apply.
When Were Florida Seat Belt Laws Passed?
Florida initially passed laws regulating safety belt use in 1986. Most recently, in 2009, the state passed SB 344—also known as the Dori Slosberg and Katie Marchetti Safety Belt Law. This law made lack of safety belt use a primary offense, empowering police officers to pull over anyone they suspect of violating safety belt law.
What Do Seat Belts Prevent When Someone Is Involved in an Accident?
Seat belts prevent many forms of serious injury during an accident, especially fatal injury.
A collision puts tremendous force on human passengers inside the vehicle upon impact. Depending on how and where the vehicle is struck, the driver and passengers can be thrown against objects inside the car, into the dashboard, through the windshield, and into objects outside the vehicle. Without a seat belt, vehicle occupants will likely face the worst of these.
According to the National Safety Council, using seat belts and shoulder belts helps prevent:
- 45% of deaths for front-seat passengers
- 50% of moderate and critical injuries for front-seat passengers
- 60% of deaths for light truck occupants
- 65% of moderate and critical injuries for light truck occupants