SEAT BELT QUESTIONS PART 1: GENERAL QUESTIONS REGARDING SEATBELT LAWS IN FLORIDA
The following are some typical questions people have about seat belts:
Why Should I Wear a Seatbelt?
Here are four reasons:
- Drivers who are buckled in are better able to control their car in emergency situations, helping to prevent serious injury to other people and property.
- Wearing your seat belt gives you nearly a 50% better chance of surviving a bad crash.
- You may be a safe driver, but you still need to be concerned about the not-so-safe drivers on the roads, especially during peak tourist and snow bird season here in Florida.
- It’s Florida law (at least in most cases).
Do Seatbelts Really Help in an Accident?
Over 20,000 people die every year in automobile accidents, and over 50% of those who died were not wearing seatbelts. That means that more than 10,000 people die in car crashes each year who were not buckled in! It is estimated that seatbelts saved over 12,000 lives last year. If all the 10,000 people who do not buckle up and perish in car accidents put their seatbelts on, then an additional 5,000 lives would be saved every year.
What About Air Bags?
Although new technology, such as air bags, is making cars safer, these advancements are not a substitute for seat belts. Moreover, the best protection for adults is a seat belt plus air bags.
What is a Seatbelt?
A seat belt is safety device installed in vehicles to help prevent the passengers from being thrown around or out of the vehicle in a collision. Florida law defines a seatbelt as follows:
“Safety belt” means a seat belt assembly that meets the requirements established under Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard[s].
Due to their important role in passenger safety, seat belts are considered primary restraint systems.
What Type of Seatbelt Do I Have to Wear?
Florida law defers to Federal law regarding its definition of a safety belt. Seat belts were first required to be installed in cars in 1968, and since then Federal law has placed various requirements on car manufacturers regarding the type of seatbelts that must be placed in automobiles. However, both Florida and Federal law are silent as to the type of seatbelt that must be worn by passengers in vehicles.
The two most common types of seat belts in cars today are the lap belt and the three-point harness. Some older vehicles come equipped with sash belts, or lap and sash belts. Use of any of these belts is legal in Florida, although the other belts do not provide the same amount of injury prevention as a three-point belt.
The three-point harness is the belt of choice in cars today because of its greater safety protection. It is comprised of a single belt that goes over the shoulder and across the lap, helping to distribute the force of a crash over the person’s shoulders, chest, and lap, which significantly reduces the possibility of an injury. As of 2007, Federal standards require new cars to have three point belts installed in all forward-facing seats.
If you and your family have been injured in a multi car crash in Florida, keep these important tips in mind while selecting a lawyer.
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