As technological advancements have continued to increase in recent years, vehicles and their safety features have kept pace. While vehicle accidents can still happen anywhere at any time in Florida, the actual mechanisms for keeping drivers safe have been a top priority for vehicle manufacturers. One of the foremost safety features of any vehicle is the seatbelt, which has been a standard feature for decades.
While you’ll find seatbelts in every vehicle, being lawfully required to wear them has only been in place in Florida for a relatively short period of time. This is somewhat surprising, given the number of vehicle accidents that occur every day and how effective seatbelts are at reducing injuries and damage.
Get Serious About Your Safety With Robert Sparks Attorneys
At Robert Sparks Attorneys, we’re serious about protecting your safety and legal rights after a Florida car accident. We have the experience and expertise to guide you through the legal process and fight for your rights.
More than that, we understand that accidents can be traumatic and overwhelming, which is why we are committed to providing compassionate and personalized support to each of our clients. Contact us today to set up a free consultation to explore your options.
Florida Seatbelt Laws: When Did They Take Effect?
Because they are a standard safety feature in every vehicle, most people assume that it’s always been a legal requirement to wear seatbelts in Florida. However, up until 1986, this wasn’t the case.
It wasn’t until then Governor Bob Graham signed a bill on June 30, 1986, that wearing a seatbelt in Florida was law. The law went into effect on January 1, 1987, and it remains in effect to this day.
Specifically, the law set the following provisions:
- Required drivers and front-seat passengers to wear seat belts while driving or riding in a car.
- Made it a primary offense for drivers and front-seat passengers to not wear seat belts, meaning that police officers could pull over and ticket drivers for this violation alone.
- Set the initial fine for not wearing a seatbelt at $20.
- Required that the seat belts meet certain safety standards.
- Provided exemptions for certain people, such as those with medical conditions that made it unsafe to wear a seatbelt.
- Required that car manufacturers install seat belts in all new cars.
- Allowed fines to be increased for repeat offenders, up to a maximum of $114.
- Required that all children under the age of five be secured in a child safety seat while riding in a car.
- Allowed for fines to be waived if the violator could provide proof of obtaining and using a seat belt after the violation.
The law was enacted as part of a national trend towards seat belt laws, as people began to recognize the importance of seatbelt use in preventing injuries and fatalities in vehicle accidents. Since its initial passage, the law has been expanded and enforced more strictly, with all passengers now required to wear seatbelts at all times while driving in Florida.
How Effective Are Seatbelts At Preventing Injuries in Florida Car Accidents?
Virtually everyone is now familiar with the benefits of seatbelts, but at the time of the law’s passage, it was still becoming known just how effective they were at preventing injuries. When coupled with other advancements in the safety features of vehicles, wearing a seatbelt is among the most important factors in preventing injuries in a Florida vehicle accident. They do this in the following ways:
- Restraint – Seatbelts restrain occupants from moving around the vehicle during a crash. This can prevent them from being thrown from the vehicle, colliding with other occupants, or hitting hard surfaces within the vehicle.
- Spreading the force of the impact – When a vehicle is involved in a collision, the force of the impact is spread over a wider area of the body when a seatbelt is worn. This can help to reduce the severity of injuries to the head, chest, and abdomen.
- Reducing the risk of ejection – A seatbelt can prevent occupants from being ejected from the vehicle during a crash. Ejection from a vehicle is a major cause of severe injuries and fatalities.
- Preventing secondary collisions – In a crash, a vehicle can rebound or collide with other objects, such as guardrails, trees, or other vehicles. A seatbelt can help keep occupants inside the vehicle and reduce the risk of injury in these secondary collisions.
Seatbelts are a crucial safety feature in any vehicle but are only effective when they’re used. Still, they are designed to help reduce the severity of injuries in the event of a crash and can significantly reduce the risk that you or a loved one will be injured in a Florida car accident.
Dedicated Support and Guidance From Experienced Florida Car Accident Attorneys
Not only does Florida law require you and other vehicle occupants to wear a seatbelt, but it also provides you with options to recover compensation after being injured in an accident. Whether that be filing an insurance claim or a lawsuit, you can turn to Robert Sparks Attorneys for guidance.
Working with our team of experienced and dedicated Florida car accident attorneys can help you determine which options are available to you and to assist you in navigating the legal process. In our years of practice, we have helped hundreds of clients recover damages in car accident claims, including:
- Medical expenses
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages
Don’t wait to seek the legal help you need. We can work with you to seek the compensation you deserve. Whether you need help filing a claim with an insurance company or pursuing a lawsuit, we can guide you through the process and fight for your rights. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you.