NTSB Press Release

National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs


May 7, 2009

WASHINGTON, DC - National Transportation Safety Board Acting Chairman Mark V. Rosenker today praised the Florida legislature and Governor for passing Senate Bill 344, a primary seat belt law which requires all vehicle occupants to wear a seat belt. This change in Florida's seat belt law, from a secondary enforcement law, allows law enforcement officers to stop vehicles and issue a ticket when motor vehicle occupants do not wear a seat belt although no other offense has been committed. 

From 1998 through 2007, more than 60 percent of the people killed in highway crashes in Florida were unrestrained. "Enactment and enforcement of this law will save lives," Rosenker said. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the national seat belt use rate is 83 percent. Currently, Florida's belt use rate is 81.7 percent. As a result, 948 lives a year are saved. However, if Florida raised its seat belt use rate from its current level to the national use rate of 83 percent, an additional 23 lives would be saved in the state. Further, if Florida raised its seatbelt use rate to 100 percent, an additional 335 lives would be saved annually in Florida.

"The Safety Board believes every life is valuable," Rosenker said. "We have seen a decrease in fatalities when seat belts are used, so, let's buckle up and save lives." 

Primary enforcement has been on the Safety Board's Most Wanted list of transportation safety improvements since 1998. Currently, twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia have such laws. 

NTSB Media Contact:
Terry N. Williams



The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.