Four people were not wearing seatbelts in a February car crash. Those four people were all ejected and injured when an SUV lost control on Interstate 4 in Davenport, Florida. According to Florida Highway Patrol officers, seven people were in an SUV as it lost control and ran off the roadway. The 19-year-old of the Chevy Tahoe, Corbin Lynn Laws, was going east on Interstate 4, driving in the center lane. Laws, a resident of Polk City, had just moved into the left lane at the 50-mile-marker when the vehicle struck the center median cable barrier. The Chevy Tahoe began to roll and it overturned while entering the westbound lanes. The SUV went over a Toyota driven by Joann Dang, a resident of Orlando, who was traveling in the opposite direction. The Tahoe ended up on its left side in the right-bound lane of Interstate 4. A two-month-old baby girl, Makinley Laws, was in a rear-facing car seat that was not ejected; however, FHP troopers indicated she may have suffered severe injuries. There were two people in the Toyota and they were not injured in the accident.
IMPORTANCE OF SEATBELTS
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) issued a press release on October 17, 2017, stating that a research study they conducted indicated that seatbelt usage in the State of Florida was at an all-time high, with the peak reaching 90.2 percent. FDOT, along with its safety partners, has focused educational efforts and safety campaigns on Floridians to try to make them more mindful and aware of the advantages of wearing seatbelts. The high visibility of law enforcement officers is also said to have played a significant role in the high rate of seatbelt usage. Situations can arise that are outside the control of an individual driver and seatbelts can make the difference between life and death. Research has shown that a passenger wearing a seatbelt in the front seat of a vehicle can reduce the risk of a fatal injury by 45 percent. This statistic proves that wearing seatbelts is a smart choice to make.
FLORIDA LAWS ABOUT SEATBELTS
Seatbelt laws have existed in the State of Florida since 1986. Law enforcement officers in Florida have started to get pretty strict about enforcing seatbelt laws. Since 2009, violations of seatbelt laws have been seen as a primary offense, meaning that a police officer can pull you over just for not wearing a seatbelt. In contrast, secondary offenses must be in conjunction with a primary offense before you can be pulled over by an officer of the law. Besides being in violation of a law if you don’t wear a seatbelt, wearing one just plain makes good sense. More vehicles are on the roads than ever before and collisions can occur more often in low-speed environments than in high-speed ones, so wear your seatbelts all the time.
SEATBELTS ON CHILDREN
As in most places, children are required, by Florida law, to wear a seatbelt or a child safety restraint device when riding in a motor vehicle. Children ages three and younger must be in a child restraint system that has been federally approved. Those children aged four to five years can have an option of either being in a child restraining device or wearing a seatbelt.
If you have been involved in an accident in St. Petersburg, Largo, Pinellas Park, Clearwater, or The Beaches, contact a personal injury attorney. He or she can help you weigh the options available to you as recourse for any damages or medical expenses incurred.