Do Backseat Passengers Have to Wear a Seatbelt in Florida?
Bill Allen | December 26, 2021 | Florida Law
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) estimates that over 2,500 lives could be saved each year if everyone buckles their seatbelt while riding in a moving vehicle. Unfortunately, some people still believe that seatbelt laws don’t apply to backseat passengers.
While there is evidence that backseat seatbelts are not as safe as once believed, they are still better than wearing no seatbelt at all. The laws for backseat passenger seat belt use vary from one state to another.
Adult Seatbelt Laws in Florida
Florida law states that all adults age 18 and over must wear a seatbelt when they are in a moving vehicle. This law applies whether the adult is riding in a vehicle’s front or back seat.
Child Seatbelt Laws in Florida
Florida seatbelt laws are stricter for children. All passengers age 17 and under must be restrained by a proper safety belt, booster seat, or car seat.
A child under the age of five is not allowed to ride in the front seat of a moving vehicle. Instead, they must be in a state-approved child safety car seat in the back. Children four to five years old must be in an approved booster seat.
The only time a child is allowed to ride in the front seat with a normal seatbelt as the safety restraint is if there is an emergency and they must be transported somewhere by a non-family member. This exception only applies to four- to five-year-old children.
Florida Seatbelt Exceptions
Despite these strict requirements, there are a few exceptions to the seatbelt laws in Florida.
Notably, seatbelts are not required by passengers that ride in specific types of vehicles, which include:
- School buses
- Public buses
- Farm equipment
Some people cannot wear safety restraints because of specific medical conditions. When this is the case, the person needs to carry documentation of the medical condition with them at all times.
Seatbelts are also not required for people who are within the living quarters of a recreational vehicle.
Consequences of Failing to Wear a Seatbelt in Florida
Drivers and passengers over the age of 18 can get a ticket if they’re not wearing a seatbelt. The driver may also be penalized for any children who are not restrained properly.
If a passenger is 18 or older and chooses to ride in the front seat or back seat without a seatbelt on, they can receive a ticket, too.
Additionally, an unbelted passenger may not be able to pursue compensation if they’re in a car accident. With the increase in the use of rideshare services, many passengers don’t realize this could be a big risk.
For example, if you’re in an Uber accident, the insurance policy may not pay for your personal injuries if you failed to wear a seatbelt.
Benefits of Wearing a Seatbelt
Seatbelts help save lives. Seatbelts can prevent a person from being thrown forward into the front seat or through the windshield. A seatbelt also prevents you from being thrown against other passengers.
Finally, as the driver, a seatbelt can help you retain control over the vehicle because you’re more likely to stay behind the wheel.
By wearing a seatbelt, you can reduce the risks of serious injuries in the event of an accident.
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