Florida Highway Patrol Unleashed

Don’t look for state troopers to give you a break this holiday weekend if you’re not wearing a seat belt, especially if you or a passenger is under 18.

A new law allowing police to pull you over if anyone 17 or younger is not buckled up kicks in Friday, and authorities say they’re showing zero tolerance right off the bat.

Trooper Paul Teslo will be watching for anyone in a car under 18 who’s not buckled up.

Trooper Paul Teslo of the Florida Highway Patrol says, "You look to see when you get behind them or if you’re coming the opposite way to see if the strap is across their chest."

And if you’re the driver, you get the ticket for each person under 18 not wearing a seat belt. That means teens, young children, front seat or back. The new law starts just in time for the 4th of July holiday, and the AAA Motor Club says it could be the most heavily traveled holiday weekend ever.

Forty two people died on Florida roads over last year's Independence Day weekend. More than half, 57 percent, were not wearing seat belts. Authorities would like to use their zero tolerance policy to teach parents and young people safer driving habits.

“Our hope in the long run is, like you say, if the child starts wearing their seat belt at a very young age, they’ll continue that habit into adulthood.”

Police admit the challenge will be telling from a passing car whether an unbuckled teen is 17 years old or 19 years old, but they say the goal here is safety, and that means you can expect a ticket if you or your kids are not following the law.

The ticket for not wearing a seat belt will run you about $75 per person, but it varies from county to county.


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