Buckling Under Pressure?

By: Victoria Langley
By: Victoria Langley

A car crash killed Sara Biggs' younger brother Derek just over a year ago. The 19-year-old wasn’t wearing his seat belt and was thrown out of the car.

Sara hopes the new law allowing police to pull you over if anyone in the car under 18 isn’t wearing a seat belt will get other teens in the habit before it’s too late.

Sara says, "I don’t think that if I were 17, 18, 19, I would be thinking about the law, but I think if I’d had another influence to really push me, I wonder if it would have been a better influence on Derek, maybe."

This past holiday weekend marked the kickoff of the so-called primary enforcement law for people under 18. No longer do you have to be doing something else wrong for police to stop you. If you or anyone else under 18 is not buckled up, the driver gets socked with a ticket.

The Florida Highway Patrol wrote more than 1,360 seat belt citations over this past weekend. Although they haven’t broken the numbers down by age, they hope teens are getting the hint.

MAJ Ernie Duarte of the Florida Highway Patrol says, "We’re hoping to increase the voluntary usage rate, and we know if we do that the fatality numbers are going to constantly decrease."

Besides fear of a costly ticket, Derek Biggs’ sister says there’s another reason to buckle up that teens just never seem to think about: you break the hearts of the people you leave behind.

Statistics show July and August are the deadliest months of the year on Florida roads.


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