Troopers ramp up seat belt enforcement ahead of holiday travel season

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — With the summer travel season fast approaching, law enforcement officers are urging drivers to buckle up.

More than 40 percent of people killed in car crashes last year in Florida weren't wearing seat belts, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

Fonda Jones said her family learned the importance of wearing a seat belt two years ago during a crash at Vineland and L.B. McLeod roads.

"A lady ran a red light and I (saw) her about to hit me," Jones said. "I said, 'Lord, don't let that lady hit my car.' And by the time I passed her, she hit the tail end of my car, and we went spinning around in circles."

She thought her entire family had their seat belts fastened, but her 13-year-old son had unbuckled his seat belt moments before the crash.

"He took it off, because he thought he didn't have to wear one in the backseat," she said. "It did not feel good being tossed around in that car. It didn't feel good. So, he learned a lesson."

Not everyone is as fortunate as her son was.

The other driver in the crash was wearing a seat belt, but Adams wasn't.

"My airbags deployed," Jones said. "I think if my seat belt hadn't been there, I would have gotten hurt a little bit worse."

Florida requires anyone in the front seat of a vehicle to wear a seat. Minors riding in the backseat must also wear a seat belt.