Defensive Driving Resource

Florida Safety Belt Law

Beginning June 30, 2009, driving in Florida without wearing a seatbelt will be a primary offense. Currently, F.S. 316.614(8) considers failure to wear a seat belt a secondary offense. The new bill S344 makes the offense a primary offense.

The difference between secondary and primary offenses is that a citation can only be issued for a secondary offense when the driver is pulled over for some other reason; a primary offense. Currently, drivers can not be pulled over just because they’re not wearing their seatbelts. An officer would have to pull the driver over for a primary offense, such as a broken tail light, failure to yield, in proper backing, etc., in order to issue a citation for not wearing a seat belt.

As of June 30, 2008, there were 27 states who had primary safety belt laws in effect. According to NHTSA: “Research has found that lap/shoulder seat belts, when used, reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent and the risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50 percent. In 2006 alone, seat belts saved an estimated 15,383 lives (Traffic Safety Facts: 2006 Data, NHTSA, DOT HS 810807). For more information on the campaign by NHTSA and the States to increase seat belt use, see”

Bill S344 is titled “Dori Slosberg and Katie Marchetti Safety Belt Law”. Former state representative Irv Slosberg took up the cause after his 14-year-old daughter Dori, died in a car crash in Boca Raton. Four other teens also died in the high-speed wreck 13 years ago. None were wearing a seat belt. You can search for new bills passed by legislature by visiting the Florida Senate website. Use the “Search Bill Text” field on the left rail.

More information about the Dori Slosberg Foundation can be found on their website.

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