Florida and Georgia both beat the national rate for auto drivers and passengers buckling up. Recent research by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that drivers and passengers wear seatbelts at higher rates than the national average. While nationally, 86 percent of all vehicle occupants wear restraints, that figure rises slightly to 87 percent in Florida and to an impressive 92 percent in Georgia. Study after study shows that wearing a seatbelt and using proper child restraints save lives. In fact, wearing seatbelts and buckling children into age- and size-appropriate car seats or booster seats can reduce the risk of serious injury and death by half.
Yet, millions of Americans navigate our nation’s roadways daily without using safety restraints. So what’s pushing the rates of compliance in these two states? Law makers and enforcers credit the fact that both Florida and Georgia have primary seatbelt laws, which allow police officers to stop and ticket drivers or passengers for failing to buckle up. In Florida, these laws cover drivers, front seat passengers age 6 and older, and passengers age 6-17 in all seats. In Georgia, they cover drivers, front seat passengers age 18 and older, and passengers age 8?17 in all seats. On average, states with primary seatbelt laws see higher rates of seatbelt use than states with secondary laws, which allow officers to ticket offenders only if they’ve pulled the driver over for another reason, such as speeding or erratic driving.
Bottom line – To protect yourself and your passengers, insist upon proper seatbelt and child restraint use every time you venture out onto the roadways, even if you’re only traveling a short distance. A recent survey by Progressive Insurance found that 52 percent of reported crashes occurred just five miles or less from the driver’s home and a whopping 77 percent occurred 15 miles or less from home. If you or your dependents are injured in an accident caused by another driver’s negligence, contact an experienced auto accident attorney. Jacksonville’s Harrell and Harrell can be reached at 800-251-1111.