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What Are Florida’s Seat Belt Laws?

July 19, 2023 Legal Team

The first seat belt law in the United States was passed in 1968 when the federal government mandated that all new private vehicles must come equipped with seatbelts in all designated seats. By 1975, most vehicles on the road had seatbelts, saving an estimated 374,276 lives since that time. By 2019, survey data showed that over 90% of motorists use seatbelts regularly. While seatbelts can’t save every life in a car crash, simply buckling up saves about 50% of all people involved in motor vehicle accidents.

Since the easy availability of data showing the dramatic benefits of wearing a seat belt, 49 out of the 50 United States (New Hampshire is the exception) require front-seat passengers to wear seatbelts and 33 states also require seat belts for backseat passengers.

If you live in Florida, plan a move to Florida, or are one of the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the sunshine state, it’s important to know Florida’s seat belt laws.

Failing to Follow Seat Belt Laws is a Primary Offense in Florida

Some states regard the failure to wear a seat belt as a secondary offense, meaning law enforcement officers can only issue fines for not wearing a seatbelt to motorists as a secondary citation if they pull over a driver for another offense—such as speeding. In Florida, officers need no other reason to pull over a driver but may pull over any motorist who isn’t following the state’s seat belt laws and issue them a citation.

What Does Florida Traffic Law Say About Seatbelts?

In Florida, it’s illegal to drive a motor vehicle without wearing a seat belt. Florida’s seat belt laws also state the following:

  • Adult passengers in the front passenger seat must wear a seat belt
  • Adults riding in the back seat are NOT required by law to wear a seat belt in Florida, however, 29 other states require backseat passengers to wear seat belts for safety in the back seat
  • Passengers under the age of 18 must wear a seat belt while in a moving car, even if they ride in the back seat
  • Babies and children under age 5 must be strapped into an age and weight-appropriate car seat whenever the car is in motion
  • Children under age 13 must ride in the back seat with a securely fastened seat belt
  • Fines for failing to buckle children into a seat belt or car seat are $60
  • Citations for failing to wear a seatbelt may increase your car insurance premiums

Because failure to wear a seat belt is a primary offense in Florida, drivers could be pulled over for not following the state’s seat belt laws and ticketed for $30-$60. Regardless of who is not wearing a seatbelt, the fine goes to the driver of the car.

Are There Exceptions to Florida’s Seat Belt Laws?

Only if a driver or passenger has a medical condition that puts them at risk of injury from a seat belt does the Florida Law make an exception to the state’s seat belt law. Motorists with such a condition must carry a doctor’s note in their vehicle. If they don’t have a doctor’s note with them, they can produce a note in court by disputing the ticket.

How Seat Belts Save Lives in Florida

Wearing a seat belt correctly can save your life and prevent injuries. Wearing a seatbelt during an accident prevents ejection from the vehicle and keeps passengers from banging against the inside of the car or each other. A seatbelt also helps to keep the driver behind the wheel during an accident where they may be able to control the car and minimize the damage.

Count on Shapiro | Delgado | Hofmann

When it comes to handling your car accident injuries, you can trust Shapiro | Delgado | Hoffmann to provide expert legal representation and support. Our skilled team of car accident attorneys in Sarasota and Bradenton is dedicated to fighting for your rights and securing the compensation you deserve. Whether you’re dealing with whiplash, fractures, or other injuries resulting from a car accident, we are here to guide you through the legal process and advocate for your best interests. With over 100 years of combined experience and a track record of successful cases, you can rely on us to handle your claim with utmost dedication and professionalism. Contact us today at ​​(941) 954-4000 or visit us online to schedule a consultation and let us help you seek the justice and compensation you need to recover from your car accident injuries.