Seatbelt Ticket Fines Drastically Different Between Florida and Alabama

By: Vanessa Nguyen Email
By: Vanessa Nguyen Email

Tomorrow begins the busiest holiday travel weekend of the year.
AAA estimates more than 38 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more during the four day weekend.
While driving in Florida, you better buckle up.
The cost of a seat belt ticket is drastically different between Florida and Alabama.

Traffic is already beginning to pick up along Highway 231 in anticipation of the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend.
And this accident at the state line should serve as a reminder of why it's important to wear a seat belt.
Fort Lauderdale resident Lily Nuta says she doesn't travel on-the-road often but it is second nature for her to wear one.
"It was the first thing my dad taught me when I learned how to drive was buckle the seat belt, first thing, and that's been many moons ago."
That lesson may come in handy as Nuta and her family members drive to Montgomery, Alabama for thanksgiving.
However, others may have to learn the hard way depending on where they get a ticket for not wearing one.
"Now the average seat belt ticket in the state of Alabama will generally cost only $10-25 if you don't take it to court. But if you cross the border into the state of Florida, that same citation will cost you $116, almost 11 times more here in Jackson County."
"Never knew that. From the statistics I think everyone should wear a seat belt."
"That does surprise me that they can bypass the local system, it's an interesting concept."
State Representative Marti Coley says the seat belt fine was one of a few traffic citations the legislature increased when it became a primary offense.
"That is a safety issue but it was also a budgetary issue when the federal government gave an incentive, we were able to get more federal dollars for transportation."
Coley says out of the $116 seat belt fine in Jackson County, only a $30 base fine will go to the legislature with the rest accounting for court fees and other costs.
But drivers like Nuta disagree with how the money flows in the two states.
"I just think that if it's gonna be costly to someone who's not wearing a seat belt in one states versus the other, it's ridiculous because it should be across the board."

As always, you can expect to see extra police, deputies and troopers on the road during the Thanksgiving weekend.


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