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Florida Driver Handbook: Safety Belts

Study for your upcoming driver's license test or learner's permit exam with the Florida Driver Handbook.

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Florida Driver Handbook: Safety Belts

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Table of Contents

5. Driving Safety

The driver and front seat passengers must wear seat belts. The seat belt law applies to passenger cars manufactured beginning with the 1968 model year, and trucks beginning with the 1972 model year. It is unlawful for any person to operate a vehicle in this state unless every passenger of the vehicle under the age of 18 is restrained by a safety belt or by a child restraint device, regardless of seating position. A seat belt violation will be charged to the driver when a person under 18 is not restrained by a safety belt or a child restraint device. If the passenger is 18 years of age or older and fails to wear a seat belt when required by law, the passenger will be charged with the violation.

The law exempts the following from the requirements:

  • Any person certified by a physician as having a medical condition that causes the seat belt use to be inappropriate or dangerous. Exempt persons need to keep a copy for the physician certification in their possession while operating a vehicle.
  • Employee of a newspaper home delivery service while delivering newspapers on home delivery routes.
  • School buses (purchased new prior to December 31, 2000)
  • Buses purchased new after December 31, 2000 are required to be equipped with seat belts. Seat belts must be worn in these vehicles.
  • Buses used for transportation of persons for compensation.
  • Farm equipment.
  • Trucks of a net weight of more than 26,000 pounds.
  • Motorcycle, moped or bicycle.

In a crash, you are far more likely to be killed if you are not wearing a safety belt. Wearing shoulder belts and lap belts make your chances of living through a crash twice as good.

In a crash, safety belts:

  • Keep you from being thrown from the vehicle. The risk of death is five times greater if you are thrown from a vehicle in a crash.
  • Keep you from being thrown against others in the vehicle.
  • Keep the driver behind the wheel, where he or she can control the vehicle.
  • Keep you from being thrown against parts of your vehicle, such as the steering wheel or windshield.

Safety Belts Save Lives!

Wear a lap belt around your hips, not your stomach. Fasten the belt snugly. Wear a shoulder belt only with a lap belt. Don't just use your safety belt for long trips or high-speed highways. More than half of the crashes that cause injury or death happen at speeds less than 40 MPH and within 25 miles from home.