Itasca, IL – After years of work by traffic safety advocates, Florida is joining the majority of states that allow police to ticket drivers solely for failure to wear seat belts. The National Safety Council praises Florida legislators for voting to enact the Dori Slosberg and Katie Marchetti Safety Belt Law, named for two young women killed in crashes while not wearing seat belts. The Florida House today voted to accept the proposal, 95-20. The Florida Senate also accepted it, 33-4, on April 28.
“The National Safety Council praises Florida, its dedicated state legislators and state leadership who helped achieve this truly significant goal. Florida is now poised to save hundreds of lives,” said Janet Froetscher, NSC President & CEO. “Over the past 10 years the NSC and its Air Bag and Seat Belt Safety Campaign have worked hard with Florida to change the public mindset about seatbelts and safety. Today we share what must be a great level of pride in that state.”
Currently, Florida law enforcement officers can not ticket someone older than 18 for not wearing a seat belt unless the person first commits another traffic offense. The new law will remove that requirement and impose a $30 fine for failing to buckle up. The new law will save an estimated 124 lives each year in Florida, prevent 1,700 serious injuries and save $408 million, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Florida Governor Charlie Crist is expected to sign the bill into law. Florida will then join 26 other states and the District of Columbia in allowing police to stop drivers for lack of seat belt use alone.
The National Safety Council (nsc.org) saves lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the roads through leadership, research, education and advocacy.