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From the time you were small, you may remember adults telling you to buckle your seat belt. For years, this was just good advice. Now, however, it is the law in many states across the country. In fact, Florida law requires you to wear a seat belt whether you are driving, a passenger in the front seat or sitting in the back seat. Failing to buckle up is a primary offense, which means police can ticket you even if you commit no other violation.

With Memorial Day approaching, and with it the start of the summer holidays, it is likely that traffic will become even heavier. Because of this, Florida police are joining the national “Click It or Ticket” campaign by increasing patrols for the next few weeks. Not only will wearing your seatbelt reduce the chances of injury during an accident, but it may also help you avoid legal trouble.

Why do I need to buckle up?

During the upcoming campaign, law enforcement will be diligent in looking for drivers and passengers who are not wearing seat belts. More than 10,000 victims of motor vehicle accidents who were not wearing seat belts died in 2017. Over half of those who died in motor vehicle accidents after 6 p.m. were unbuckled. Perhaps you know these risks, and you consistently wear your seat belt no matter how short your trip. By buckling up, you gain the following advantages during a collision:

  • A seat belt secures you from violently colliding with others in the vehicle, perhaps increasing injuries.
  • A seat belt tightens during a crash, holding you against your seat to prevent you from hitting the steering wheel.
  • If you are wearing your seat belt while driving, you may have more control over the vehicle during a crash.
  • A seat belt can protect you from ejection from the vehicle, through either the windshield or an open car door, which is a common cause of fatal injuries.

While wearing a safety belt may protect you and your passengers in many situations, you are still at the mercy of other drivers when you are on the road. A careless or reckless driver can cause catastrophic injuries to you or your family even if you are safely buckled in your seats. If this happens, you may wish to reach out for advice about your legal options for pursuing compensation for your medical bills and other damages.