On May 22, 2015, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed SB160 into law, heralding in the most dramatic reforms this state has seen in decades. Well, not decades, perhaps. Days would be a better description; heralding in the most dramatic reforms this state has seen in days. The signing of SB160 means that a rural letter carrier of the United States Postal Service is not required to wear a safety belt while performing his or her duties on a designated postal route.

This is a game changer. Things will really start happening now. Like postal workers falling out of their open vehicles, or smacking their face on the windshield during abrupt stops. Clearly the US Postal Service, widely known for its efficient and low cost workers' compensation system, didn't think it was spending enough for on the job injuries.  It needed more casualties.

With this new law, Postal workers join the elite ranks of newspaper home delivery people as well as solid waste and recyclable collection personnel. They are the only others exempt from Florida's draconian seatbelt laws.  

Florida takes seat belt laws very seriously, unless of course you are a postal worker, newspaper delivery person or refuse worker. It has become more aggressive towards people who choose not to wear their seatbelts. In 2009, the state declared statute 316.614, the law which makes it illegal to be unrestrained while riding in a car, a primary law. This means that a police officer can pull you over and beat you senseless if you are not wearing your seatbelt. Alternately they can just issue a citation, but few see the fun in that. Prior to the primary designation officers could only cite you for not wearing your seatbelt if you were already pulled over for another infraction, such as running over an unrestrained postal worker who fell out of their little vehicle.  

And when we are talking about people being unrestrained, do we really want to encourage that from postal workers? I mean, the whole phrase “going postal” stems from their inability to restrain themselves in the first place.

According to the Florida DMV website, “by securing you in your seat, a seat belt protects you from being thrown into other people in the car and parts of your car. In addition, seat belts keep the driver in their seat so they can control the car.”

Now, really, if people could control their car in the first place, they probably wouldn't be “thrown into other people in the car and parts of your car”. I also suspect whoever wrote that original line has fallen out of their share of little vehicles. Their inability to craft a simple sentence indicates they are clearly drain bamaged.

What brought this bill about? Has there been a rash of ticketing unbelted or unrestrained postal workers?

Also, until researching this article I was not aware that newspaper delivery people were exempt from seat belt use when they are performing the functions of their job. I should have been able to guess that, since my paper man was clearly unrestrained with his throwing technique.  Every morning was a new adventure in finding my paper. Good thing we all went digital a few years ago and put that crazy unrestrained bastard out of a job.

Governor Scott stopped short of signing another traffic related bill last week, HB 666. That one would have allowed people caught texting while driving to be shot on sight, mostly by unrestrained postal workers. Alas, that did not happen, and texting behind the wheel in Florida remains a secondary offense, which simply means police must first pull you over for failing to wear a seat belt or some other infraction before shoving your phone up your arse.

Ok, they don’t really do that here in Florida, but when it comes to texting behind the wheel, they should.

So, tourists and snowbirds alike, take heed. When you come to the Sunshine State you can expect great food, warm water and tropical breezes. But be careful when driving our back roads. Not only are our postal workers unhinged, they are also now unrestrained.

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