You know that you’re supposed to wear a seat belt when you drive your car. Seat belts began as additional safety technology, but they became something that was mandated by law in an effort to reduce the number of fatal crashes every year.
But people often assume that this just means they could get a ticket for not wearing their seat belt if they get pulled over for another reason. Maybe the police officer sees that they’re speeding, for instance, and pulls them over. He or she then notices they don’t have a seat belt on when they’re talking, and so they get an additional offense.
But couldn’t the officer actually pull you over only for not wearing your seat belt?
It is now a primary offense
It wasn’t always this way, but Florida laws were updated back in 2009 to make driving or riding in a car without a seat belt on a primary offense. When it was a secondary offense, police officers couldn’t pull you over for it, but they could give you additional penalties.
Thanks to this change to the law, it is now legal for a police officer to pull you over even if you’re doing everything correctly, but the officer notices that you’re not wearing a seat belt. It is a valid reason for a traffic stop under Florida law, and so this is a very important distinction. It is also different than the laws used in some other states, so it’s important to know how this works if you’re a tourist who is visiting Florida.
What should you do next?
If you are facing legal issues for not wearing a belt or breaking other traffic laws, be sure that you know all the options at your disposal.