The question of whether you can get pulled over by a police officer for not wearing a seat belt gets asked quite a bit by clients, and because the law has flip flopped, I can understand the confusion. Prior to 2009, if a police officer saw you driving without your seat belt, he could not pull you over. You could have waved to him with your seat belt off and there wasn't much he could do about it.
But in 2009, then Governor Charlie Crist signed into law the ability for police to pull you over if you are not wearing your seat belt. In doing this, seat belt enforcement went from what's called "secondary" enforcement to "primary" enforcement.
Now we all like to think the Governor was looking out for the residents of Florida because we all know seat belts save lives and by allowing officers to pull people over, the hope was that more people would buckle up and stay alive.
The reality is, that was probably a nice byproduct, but I'm sure the real reason was that by changing the law, Florida became eligible to receive up to 35 million dollars to promote highway safety.
"What did they do with all this money", you may ask? Well, let's look at two things that we all know promote highway safety that they didn't do. They didn't bring back auto inspections that would get all these cars with bald tires, no windshield wipers and no working headlights off the roads. Additionally, they didn't repeal the law that lets people ride motorcycles without helmets.
Oh well, so much for public safety.
Of course, back in 2009 (all of three years ago), seat belt tickets only cost $30, which seemed reasonable. However, much has changed in the past few years, and what seemed quaint like a $30 fine has now gone up. . . . wait for it . . . .almost 400%.
Yes, you read that right. In less than 3 years, a ticket for not wearing your seat belt has gone up 400%!!!!!!! This was during the worse economic period in our lifetime.
The truth is, a seat belt ticket, if it's the only ticket you receive is around $120.00, but it doesn't carry points, as it's a non-moving violation, so you should just go ahead and pay it.
However, if your seat belt ticket came with a moving violation that carries points, and you would like to fight it, please feel free to give us a call for a FREE consultation regarding your case.