No one gets into a car in Naples thinking that they are going to be involved in an accident. Thus, it is not unreasonable to assume that there may be a time when a passenger that you are transporting forgets to buckle theirs. They may be assuming the risk of injury if you do happen to experience; could you be at risk of liability? Many come to us here at The Caldarone Law Group, P.A. with this very question. While a definitive answer may not be available in all situations, you should at least know that it is a possibility.
Consider your vehicle to be your property. As a property owner, you have a duty to protect those who enter it from risks that are known and unknown. As was mentioned earlier, few may anticipate a car accident, yet you at least know that being involved in one is a possibility. This could be seen as a known risk that you are expected to protect passengers from.
In terms of your legal obligation, Section 316.614 of Florida’s state statutes says that you cannot drive a vehicle lawfully if you and any passenger sitting in the front seat or any in car that are under the age of 18 are not secured by seat belts or approved restraint devices. Notice how it does not place a legal obligation on you to make sure that adult passengers riding in the rear are using their seat belts. However, all that means is that you will not be cited. An adult rear passenger may attempt to seek civil action against you for failing to insist they use their seat belt.
More information on mitigating the risk faced in car accidents can be found here on our site.