Although the number of motor-related accidents has been declining in recent years, we are still a long way from witnessing accident-free roads. Statistics from the National Highway Safety Administration suggest that half of all motor-accident victims don’t have the necessary safety restraints at the time of the crash. In 2008, for instance, there were 35,654 reported casualties of vehicle accidents. Nearly 15,000 of those deaths could have been avoided if the victims were wearing seat belts.
What Does the Law Say About Wearing Seat Belts?
The state of Florida has enacted several laws on safety belts that are designed to protect the lives of drivers and other vehicle occupants in the event of a crash. One of these legislations requires all individuals aged 15 years and above to wear a seat belt whenever they are traveling in a motor vehicle. Another law stipulates that persons aged 17 years and below must be secured with a safety belt or a child safety seat when they are in a moving vehicle.
However, the seat belt safety laws also have a provision for instances where wearing a safety belt may not be possible or practical. For example, individuals who are not able to wear seat belts may be exempted from doing, so provided they present a letter from a doctor. People who perform jobs that require frequent alighting and boarding of vehicles may also be exempted from wearing safety belts due to the circumstances of their work. These include workers such as postal delivery agents, water meter readers and delivery workers.
What are the Penalties for Failing to Wear a Seatbelt?
Although seat belt safety laws have been existing for some time, the implementation process has not always been effective. However, with increasing advocacy for seat belts, traffic police officers are becoming more firm in their resolve to ensure all vehicle-users observe these safety laws. According to the law, drivers are responsible for ensuring all the occupants in their vehicles wear seat belts unless they have exceptional and valid reasons for not doing so. Furthermore, parents or other adults are supposed to ensure that the children traveling with them are properly restrained using safety belts. Those who fail to observe these laws are liable for a fine not exceeding $200. They may also be reported for negligence to the Florida Department of Children and Families.
How do Safety Belts Prevent Injury?
Statistics reveal that a large number of the fatalities that occur in motor-related accidents are a result of traumatic brain injuries, which happen when the head hits the dashboard or windshield at high velocity. Wearing a seat belt restraints your body and prevents you from getting ejected out of the car in case of a collision. Consequently, this protects you from a serious impact with the vehicle’s body, which could otherwise lead to concussions. Furthermore, buckling prevents you from moving too much, and can save your life in case of rollover accidents.
Getting Legal Assistance after Injury
While seat belts are very important safety tools that can help save lives in the event of a crash, they do not in themselves prevent car accidents. In case you have suffered injury in a vehicle accident due to another driver’s negligence, get in touch with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible in order to receive the legal assistance that you require.