(1) This section may be cited as the “Florida Safety Belt Law.”
(2) It is the policy of this state that enactment of this section is intended to be compatible with the continued support by the state for federal safety standards requiring automatic crash protection, and the enactment of this section should not be used in any manner to rescind or delay the implementation of the federal automatic crash protection system requirements of Federal Motor Safety Standard 208 as set forth in S188.8.131.52 thereof, as entered on July 17, 1984, for new cars.
(3) As used in this section: (a) “Motor vehicle” means a motor vehicle as defined in s. 316.003 which is operated on the roadways, streets, and highways of this state. The term does not include:
1. A school bus.
2. A bus used for the transportation of persons for compensation.
3. A farm tractor or implement of husbandry.
4. A truck having a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 26,000 pounds.
5. A motorcycle, moped, or bicycle.
(b) “Safety belt” means a seat belt assembly that meets the requirements established under Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 208, 49 C.F.R. s. 571.208.
(c) “Restrained by a safety belt” means being restricted by an appropriately adjusted safety belt which is properly fastened at all times when a motor vehicle is in motion.
(4) It is unlawful for any person: (a) To operate a motor vehicle in this state unless each passenger and the operator of the vehicle under the age of 18 years are restrained by a safety belt or by a child restraint device pursuant to s. 316.613, if applicable; or
(b) To operate a motor vehicle in this state unless the person is restrained by a safety belt.
(5) It is unlawful for any person 18 years of age or older to be a passenger in the front seat of a motor vehicle unless such person is restrained by a safety belt when the vehicle is in motion.
(6)(a) Neither a person who is certified by a physician as having a medical condition that causes the use of a safety belt to be inappropriate or dangerous nor an employee of a newspaper home delivery service while in the course of his or her employment delivering newspapers on home delivery routes is required to be restrained by a safety belt.
(b) An employee of a solid waste or recyclable collection service is not required to be restrained by a safety belt while in the course of employment collecting solid waste or recyclables on designated routes.
(c) The requirements of this section do not apply to the living quarters of a recreational vehicle or a space within a truck body primarily intended for merchandise or property.
(d) The requirements of this section do not apply to motor vehicles that are not required to be equipped with safety belts under federal law.
(e) A rural letter carrier of the United States Postal Service is not required to be restrained by a safety belt while performing duties in the course of his or her employment on a designated postal route.
(7) It is the intent of the Legislature that all state, county, and local law enforcement agencies, safety councils, and public school systems, in recognition of the fatalities and injuries attributed to unrestrained occupancy of motor vehicles, shall conduct a continuing safety and public awareness campaign as to the magnitude of the problem and adopt programs designed to encourage compliance with the safety belt usage requirements of this section.
(8) Any person who violates the provisions of this section commits a nonmoving violation, punishable as provided in chapter 318.
(9) By January 1, 2006, each law enforcement agency in this state shall adopt departmental policies to prohibit the practice of racial profiling. When a law enforcement officer issues a citation for a violation of this section, the law enforcement officer must record the race and ethnicity of the violator. All law enforcement agencies must maintain such information and forward the information to the department in a form and manner determined by the department. The department shall collect this information by jurisdiction and annually report the data to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The report must show separate statewide totals for the state’s county sheriffs and municipal law enforcement agencies, state law enforcement agencies, and state university law enforcement agencies.
(10) A violation of the provisions of this section shall not constitute negligence per se, nor shall such violation be used as prima facie evidence of negligence or be considered in mitigation of damages, but such violation may be considered as evidence of comparative negligence, in any civil action.