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The Florida Seat Belt Law: Where did it come from?

Prior to enactment of the Florida seat belt laws, the Florida Department of Transportation reported that 1 in 5 drivers did not wear their seat belts. As a result of this failure to wear a seat belt, the Department further reported that 3 out of every 5 Florida car accident fatalities were directly attributed to the lack of seat belt use. In an effort to prevent needless deaths and injuries, Florida enacted the Dori Slosberg and Katie Marchetti Safety Belt Law. The law was named in memory of two Florida teenagers who died without wearing seat belts. It allows Florida police officers to stop drivers solely for failure to wear a seat belt.

Dori Slosberg was the daughter of Florida State Representative Irving Slosberg. She died in a 1996 car crash at the age of 14. In 2004, her family started the Dori Slosberg Foundation to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries on Florida roadways. In addition to its pursuit of the Dori Slosberg and Katie Marchetti Safety Belt Law, the Foundation also offers many programs, including:

  • Staying Alive on 95, 75, & Florida’s Roadways
  • DUI Zero Tolerance
  • Driver’s Education
  • Safe Teen Driving
  • Safe Senior Transportation

Katie Marchetti, full name Katlyn Marie Marchetti, died in a Tampa car accident on March 4, 2006 at age 16. Like Dori Slosberg, she too was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident. Following her passing, Katie’s parents started the Katie Marchetti Memorial Foundation, Inc., in Katie’s memory. The goals of the Foundation include:

  • Bringing hope to families who have suffered losses
  • Raising awareness about the necessity of seat belt usage
  • Working with the Ophelia Project of Tampa Bay to bring self-fulfillment to middle- and high school-aged women

Together, the two foundations, along with support and efforts of concerned Florida citizens, successfully campaigned for the passage of this law. The Florida Highway Patrol predicts that approximately 125 lives will be saved each year as a result.

If you or a loved one suffered an injury following a Florida car crash, an experienced Sarasota accident attorney can assist you in evaluating whether you are entitled to damages. Complete our online submission form or call our office at (888) 409-3805 for a complimentary consultation.


Damian Mallard, Esq.
Board Certified Sarasota Personal Injury Attorney