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In June 2009, Florida’s seat belt law went into effect, making it a primary offense if the driver or front seat passenger is not wearing a seat belt. In addition, anyone under the age of 17 must be in a proper safety restraint. Florida joins 31 states and Washington, DC, in passing such a law with a goal of reducing the number of serious injuries or fatalities in vehicle accidents.

Statistics show that the law works — and those that buckle up will most likely live to see another day when involved in a serious accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), safety belts saved 12,713 lives in 2009. Furthermore, they estimated that another 3,688 lives could have been spared if all the passengers over the age of five involved in fatal crashes had been restrained.

With the enforcement of Florida’s seat belt law, the seat belt usage rate climbed to an all-time high of 87.5% in 2010. Unfortunately, teenagers continue to take risks and are the demographic least likely to use seatbelts. They are also the group most likely to be involved in a fatal crash. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that compared to drivers from other age groups, the highest crash risk per mile traveled is with teenage drivers.

A late Sunday night automobile crash in St. Lucie County, FL is another tragic consequence of teenagers not buckling up. A 16-year-old died after being ejected from an SUV when the vehicle veered into the highway’s median where it then rolled over several times. The teen was not wearing his seatbelt. A 14-year-old was also ejected and is in critical condition. It is not clear whether that teen was properly restrained.

In May, the Florida Teen Safe Driving Coalition (FTSDC) created the “white out teen crashes” campaign to offer another training opportunity to raise awareness of the risks associated with teenage driving behaviors. Pointing out that “traffic crashes are the #1 killer of teens in Florida and in the United States,” the FTSDC set aside the week of week of May 2 – 6 as a time to educate teens and their parents about staying safe behind the wheel.

Teens represent five percent of Florida’s driving population, but they are involved in more than nine percent of Florida’s vehicle crashes, according to the FTSDC. We note that 153 Florida teens died in car crashes in 2010; encouraging teens to buckle up may eventually make a difference in the Treasure Coast’s young population and their driving behaviors.

Contact an Experienced Florida Car Accident Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been injured in a Florida car accident due to the negligence or carelessness of another driver, seek experienced counsel. I am attorney Philip DeBerard. I have three decades of legal experience representing people injured in car accidents and other personal injury claims.

The law firm of Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney, represents victims of car accidents and automobile crashes in Jupiter, Port St. Lucie, Stuart, Okeechobee, Fort Pierce, Vero Beach and Palm Beach. If character traits such as integrity, dedication and compassion are what you seek in an accident lawyer, call Philip DeBerard. Choosing the right accident lawyer does make a difference.

Call 1-800-299-8878 to speak with a knowledgeable Florida car accident attorney or fill out our online contact form.