With the holidays approaching and plans for visiting family and friends in full swing, it’s a good time to remind everyone of the importance of using your seat belt while riding in a vehicle, including making sure children are properly secured in a car seat or booster seat. A recent seat belt survey by the Florida Department of Transportation shows that approximately ninety percent of drivers in Florida are using their seat belts. While the statistics are encouraging, unfortunately ten percent of Florida motorists are still not buckling up.
“This time of year can be hectic and in our rush to get everything done, it can be easy to overlook some necessary safeguards,” said Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Executive Director Julie Jones. “Whether it’s a trip across town to go shopping or a trip across the state to see relatives, it’s important to take that extra minute before driving off to ensure that everyone in the vehicle is buckled up and secure for the journey.”
Department of Transportation Secretary Ananth Prasad said, “The Florida Department of Transportation is committed to driving down fatalities on our roadways, and we have seen a positive impact from seat belt usage over the years. More lives can be saved, and we will continue to educate about the importance of buckling up every trip, every time.”
Florida law requires the use of seat belts by drivers of motor vehicles and all children riding in a vehicle under the age of 18.
FLHSMV and FDOT recommend:
• Buckle Up. A seatbelt is your vehicle’s most important safety feature.
• Use a car seat for children under age 3 for every trip, even if you are just going down the street.
• Make sure all car and booster seats you use are crash-tested and federally-approved.
• Select a car seat based on your child’s age and size, and always follow the manufacturer’s directions.
• Keep children in the back seat, at least through age 12. When used with seat belts, air bags work well to protect teenagers and adults. However, air bags can be very dangerous to children, particularly those riding in rear-facing car seats, and to preschool and young school-aged children who are not properly restrained.
• Soon-to-be parents should buy their infant car seat before having the baby so you are ready to bring home the new addition to your family safely.
• Replace a car seat if the vehicle has been in a moderate to severe crash to ensure a continued high level of protection.
More information and additional safety tips can be found at http://www.flhsmv.gov/fhp/CPS/ or http://www.dot.state.fl.us/safety/2A-Programs/Occupant-Protection.shtm
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles provides highway safety and security through excellence in service, education and enforcement. The Department is leading the way to a safer Florida through the efficient and professional execution of its core mission: the issuance of driver licenses, vehicle tags and titles and operation of the Florida Highway Patrol. To learn more about DHSMV and the services offered, visit www.flhsmv.gov, follow us on Instagram at FLHSMV, Twitter @FLHSMV or find us on Facebook.