Fort Lauderdale Fatality Reinforces Seat Belt Safety

In a tragedy that emphasizes the importance of wearing a seat belt while driving in Florida, a local South Florida driver was tragically killed in Fort Lauderdale early on a recent  morning when he lost control of his vehicle on I-95 and struck a guardrail; his vehicle flipped several times, and the driver was then ejected from his vehicle.  He died from his injuries shortly thereafter.  What makes this accident so sad is that the driver could have avoided being ejected from his vehicle, and perhaps dying in the accident, simply by wearing his seat belt.  He likely still would have been alive, albeit with serious injuries.  Wearing a seat belt is a simple safety intervention that is required by Florida law and is shown to dramatically reduce the chances of serious injury or death in a car accident.  Thousands of drivers and passengers die unnecessarily across the country every year because they choose not to wear their seat belts.

Wearing a Seat Belt: Required by
Florida Law

Wearing a seat belt is not only required by Florida law but is also simply a good idea.  Florida has had some sort of seat belt law dating all the way back to 1986.  Under current Florida law, all passengers in the front seat of a vehicle must wear a seat belt.  Currently, all passengers under 18 years old also must wear a seat belt or be otherwise restrained by a child car seat, no matter whether riding in the front or back seat.  It also is against the law to operate a vehicle if all the passengers do not meet these standards.  Violations of Florida’s seat belt laws are a primary offense, meaning law enforcement can pull a driver over for no other reason than that the driver is not wearing his or her seat belt and the minimum fine is $35.  

Wearing a Seat Belt is Essential to the Safety of Drivers and Passengers Alike

The driver in the recent Fort Lauderdale accident was thrown from his vehicle because he was not wearing his seat belt. More so than the airbag, anti-lock brakes, or any other safety feature that has become standard in automobiles in the last 40 years, the seat belt has saved tens of thousands of lives each year since it became a common feature of all vehicles in the 1970’s.  Statistics show that seat belts drastically reduce the chances a driver or passenger will be thrown from his or her vehicle; statistics from the Florida Division of Motor Vehicles put the chances at five times higher of a motorist being thrown from a vehicle if he or she is not wearing his seat belt.  The Florida Department of Transportation’s June 2017 Seat Belt Use in Florida study had encouraging results: it showed that 90.2 percent of motorists on Florida’s roads are wearing their seat belts, a slight increase from the 89.6 percent reported the year earlier.  These findings of increased seat belt use in the Sunshine State are positive given that the federal  National Highway Transportation Safety Administration found that 48 percent of the fatalities in traffic accidents in 2016 involved motorists who were not wearing seat belts.  In that year, seat belts saved 14,668 lives and could have saved an additional 2,456 lives nationwide if those involved in motor vehicle accidents had been wearing seat belts at the time of the accident.  Wearing a seat belt reduces the chances of fatal injuries by 45 percent and moderate to critical injuries by 50 percent for those who are riding in the front seat of a motor vehicle involved in a collision.

Contact The Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley if You Have Been Injured in a Motor Vehicle Accident in Florida

Given the unpredictable nature of other drivers and what they will do in a high-traffic (and high-accident) area like South Florida, wearing your seat belt is absolutely imperative and is the law in Florida.  It can protect you whether you are in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence or if, like the recent accident in Fort Lauderdale, you are involved in an accident in which it appears the driver’s own actions may have contributed to his death.  However, plenty of accidents happen every day across South Florida that are caused by another motorist’s negligence in which innocent persons are injured.  If you, a family member, or a loved one has been injured or killed in a motor vehicle accident, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A at 877-694-6079 or contact@schwedlawfirm.com for a free consultation today so that we can put that experience to work for you.  Our experienced personal injury attorneys have more than 150 years of combined practice representing the injured and the lawyers of Schwed, Adams & McGinley are anxious to put our experience to work for you.