My friend, Katie Marchetti, passed away in 2006. As soon as I heard the news, I made a personal vow to ALWAYS wear my seat belt. She would have survived the car accident if she was wearing the seatbelt.
Ill be honest, I was never concerned about wearing my seatbelt until Katie passed away.
Since her passing, I have represented the Katie Marchetti Foundation at various speaking engagements. One of which was at the state capital as a lobbyist. Our lobbying agenda was to convince law makers to change the law. At the time of her death until June 2009 the Florida seatbelt law was a secondary law. Meaning that anyone under the age of 18 could be pulled over for not wearing their seatbelt. Even law enforcement has told me that it is difficult to enforce the law because it is hard to judge the drivers age.
The current law is a primary law. Anyone and everyone who is not wearing the seatbelt can be pulled over and ticketed a minimum of $75. If the passenger is under the age of 16 the driver must pay the seat belt fine. The reason for this, it is common knowledge to a 16 year old (due to the legal driving age) to know about the requirements.
I have spoken at many teen events, middle schools, class rooms and other places doing my best to encourage everyone to always buckle up. Seat belt safety was my platform while competing in the Miss America preliminary scholarship pageants.
I am proud to say that I made an influence on the law change and hope that I have made an impact on others.