Citing the statistics that seatbelts save lives in auto accidents, the Florida legislature has passed a bill that will allow Florida law enforcement to ticket drivers who are not wearing their seatbelts. Previously, you could only be ticketed if you were stopped for some other violation, such as speeding or running a red light.
The state fine for not wearing your seatbelt will be $30.00, but cities and counties can add their own fines and it was reported in the Orlando Sentinel that total fines could be from $93 to $119 for not wearing your seatbelt.
While the percentage of drivers who wear their seatbelts in Florida has been increasing over the years, we are still behind the national average. On average 82% of Floridians wear their seatbelts whereas the average is 87% in the rest of the nation.
The new bill has been sent to Gov. Charlie Crist who says he will sign it. This type of seatbelt law has been proposed several times in the past few years but has failed to make it out of committee. This year there was a little more incentive than in the past in that passage of the bill came with a $35.5 million safety grant. The availability of this grant would have expired at the end of the year.