What Are Florida’s Laws For Child Safety Seats in Cars?Jacksonville Accident News
Because driving puts you and your passengers at increased risk for injuries and death, being proactive and taking the proper precautions to avoid a crash is good practice. Your children are precious and because of how much damage their tiny bodies can take when they experience forceful impact, children riding in cars need extra, specialized protection. Children of specific height and weight are required by Florida child safety seat laws to be sitting in approved seats that will keep them safer from harm if a Florida car accident happens.
In 2020, there were 340,939 total automobile crashes in Florida. There were 3,340 people who died that year as a result of these events. There were also 212,278 people who sustained injuries of some amount of severity. This means that over 60% of these crashes resulted in physical bodily harm and death. For children, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that vehicular crashes are the most frequent cause of death across the United States. There were 636 children under the age of 13 that died in car accidents throughout the nation in 2018 alone. That same year crashes were responsible for almost 100,000 injuries in children.
Putting your child in the right safety seat that is installed correctly decreases the risk of substantial injury and death for your children. In 2017 49% of the children aged 8-12 who died from crashes weren’t wearing seatbelts which clearly illustrates how critical the use of appropriate restraint systems is. Even with the right child restraint system, installing the seat correctly is an absolute necessity for the device to do its job effectively. A seat that is not put into a car the right way is not going to protect your child from harm if a crash happens. The CDC estimates that as many as 59% of car seats and 20% of booster seats are not used correctly. Because of this, all children that are put in a child restraint system incorrectly are subject to terrible harm if a crash takes place.
What are Florida Child Seat Belt Laws?
A child’s age, weight, and height are the metrics that have been used to formulate child car safety guidelines.
Seatbelts – Seatbelts are required for anyone who drives an automobile and anyone who sits in the front passenger seat. All children who are passengers in a car under the age of 18 must also be using the correct restraints. Children who are under the age of 12 must remain seated in the back seat of a car. The reason why is because children younger than 12 are at high risk of severe injuries if they are sitting in the front of a vehicle and hit by an airbag.
Car Seats, Boosters, and Integrated Seats – Any child under the age of five must be in a crash-tested, child restraint device that has been approved by the federal government’s standards. Youngsters three and below must be placed either on a device that uses a separate carrier or an integrated option. For children four years of age to five, a separate carrier, a booster seat, or an integrated restraint system must be used.
How is Safety Belt Law Enforced in Florida?
As a primary enforcement state, police officers can monitor people in cars as they drive by or are stopped at stoplights or intersections. If an officer notices that someone in a car is not restrained according to Florida’s safety belt laws, or it is suspected that a motor vehicle occupant is not in the correct device, that car can be pulled over. So if you are driving and not using the proper restraint system or if you do not have your child set up in the right apparatus should a police officer take notice, you will be pulled over and issued a citation.
An adult who is required by law to wear a seatbelt but chooses not to will be issued a fine from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles for $35. But that isn’t the only cost you will have to face if you are pulled over. Individual counties also have their own fines to add on top of the DHSMV’s ticket. For example, Broward County places an additional $115 fine for being convicted of not wearing a seatbelt. If you refuse to pay these fines you are not legally allowed to drive, and you can have your license revoked by the DHSMV until you are paid up.
It isn’t just the fines that can negatively impact your life, you are also going to face points being added to your license for seatbelt violations. When you have too many points on your Florida license you will be facing a license suspension. Just driving alone without a seat belt comes with three points on your license, but if there are children in your car who were also not restrained the way they should have been, then each child will come with additional points to your license. Potentially, you can be pulled over just once and if you have several children in your car that are not restrained appropriately you could easily rack up the 12 points that will lead to a six-month license suspension.
Speak with a Florida Personal Injury Attorney Today
Not wearing your seatbelt or putting your child in the right safety seat can not only be a costly proposition but more importantly, potentially a deadly one. Always make sure that you install your child’s car seat or booster seat correctly and if you need help or if you want to make sure that the way you installed your child’s car seat was right, there are several ways to obtain assistance and feedback. The National Child Passenger Safety Certification’s website is a good resource to find a trained child safety seat technician.
If you need help with a Florida personal injury claim because you or a loved one was injured in a crash, call the Jacksonville car accident attorneys at Sheftall Law today to schedule your free consultation at (904) 638-7712.