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Seat Belt Usage Up — Still Thousands Killed in Accidents

As we head into the last few weeks of 2012, we’re also heading into some serious risks for car accidents. The last eight weeks of each year are some of the most dangerous, especially in the state of Florida. We’re asking all motorists to be safe out there and we’re starting with seat belts!
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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more Americans than ever are wearing their seat belt. Unfortunately, there are still a lot who aren’t. The most recent statistics show that about 85 percent of Americans are buckling up. Because it’s not 100 percent, we’re still seeing tens of thousands of people die each and every year in car accidents.

Our Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers understand that the rate of seat belt usage has climbed consistently since 1994. Still, there aren’t enough people buckling in. It’s like cell phone usage or alcohol. We know both are extremely dangerous for drivers and significantly increase your risks for a fatal accident, yet millions continue to ignore the risks.

“When it comes to driving safely, one of the most effective ways to protect yourself and your family is to use a seat belt,” said the Secretary for the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Secretary Ray LaHood.

Seat belt usage is consistently higher in areas where laws are tougher and enforcement is stronger. Here in the state of Florida, our law requires that front seat passengers wear seat belts. This means all front-seat passengers of vehicles that were made after 1968. In addition, all passengers under the age of 18 are required to be buckled in or seated in the proper child car seat. If you’re busted riding along our roadways without the proper safety restraint, you could find yourself with a $30 fine for a first-time violation. If you’re busted with a child who isn’t properly restrained, then you’re looking at a $60 violation!

Why should you buckle up?

-To help to protect yourself and others.

-To avoid getting a costly citation.

Florida has had a safety belt law since 1986, but officers were only able to write tickets to unbuckled motorists when they were stopped for other violations. This law used to be secondary enforcement. Now that the law is primary enforcement (passed on the 30th of June in 2009), officers are able to stop motorists just because they are not wearing safety belts.

Parents are urged to keep children properly buckled during every car ride. These young children can’t do it themselves and their safety relies on you. Be a safe and responsible motorist and make sure everyone knows the importance of and knows how to properly use a seat belt. These safety devices can increase your risks of surviving an accident by about 50 percent!

Believe it or not, but the seat belt is your car’s best safety feature. Remember that it only works if you use it. Buckle up and stay safe!

If you or someone you love has been injured, contact Freeman & Mallard for a free and confidential review of your case. Call 1-800-561-7777.

More Blog Entries:

Breakdown Safety: Staying Safe in Your Time of Need, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, November 22, 2012

Passengers: Increasing Your Teen’s Risks for an Accident, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, October 19, 2012

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