As motorists take to the highways in the coming weeks during the winter season, law enforcement officers will also be on the roadways to ensure the safety of motorists. One particular concern is to identify motorists driving without seatbelts and both national and Florida law allow officers to issue a citation even in the absence of any other offense.
The first Click It or Ticket program originated in North Carolina in 1993 where 3,000 enforcement checkpoints were set up along with an advertising campaign to build public awareness. More than 58,000 citations were issued in the ensuing months and drivers' seat belt usage increased from 65 percent to 81 percent by July 1994. In 2002, 18 states including Florida, Alabama, New York, and Texas participated in a national Click It or Ticket pilot program supported by federal grants and more than 250,000 citations were reported during the enforcement period. Since 2004, all U.S. states and territories participate in Click It or Ticket Programs.
Since its inception, the campaign has met with tremendous success. Credited with saving thousands of lives, Click It or Ticket has brought tremendous public awareness of the importance of seat belt usage through television and radio outreach and is particularly successful in changing behaviors of men ages 18 to 34 who, traditionally, are the demographic least likely to wear seat belts.
The Click It or Ticket campaign has been codified in Florida law through the Dori Slosberg and Katie Marchetti Safety Belt Law, which became effective in June 2009. The law allows officers to pull vehicles over if someone in the front seat isn't wearing a seat belt. Before the law's passage, officers could only issue citations for non-seat belt usage if another traffic offense had occurred or if a minor was not wearing a seat belt.
There are limited classes of people who are exempt from the law, including:
The effectiveness of the law is undisputed. One year after the law's passage, traffic deaths were reported to be at their lowest rate since the Florida Department of Safety and Motor Vehicles began keeping records in the 1960s. Further, deaths of teenage drivers and passengers who are the group most likely to suffer fatalities due to non-use of seat belts dropped by more than 20 percent.
The Pittman Firm supports legislation that keeps drivers and passengers safe on Florida's roadways. Responsible driving, including the use of seat belts, is everyone's responsibility. If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, contact us today for help on your case.