October 02, 2018, Kitchener, Ontario
Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer
OPP and local police forces are cracking down on Seatbelt offences in the province. The seatbelt laws have been around for decades, but it seems some people haven’t gotten the message. This year there have been 34 people killed in the province in accidents that involved no seatbelts.
The number of people killed so far this year is up by 10% so far over last year. 2017 saw 30 deaths. The OPP response is to stop and educate / ticket those who are not wearing seatbelts or those who are wearing them incorrectly.
Police and safety experts say that there is not other safety device in a car that will save you if you aren’t wearing your seatbelt. They will prevent or reduce injury, and they will keep you alive. When a car rolls, or you are involved in a crash the chance of ejection is high without a seatbelt on. Once you are outside the car you are going to be injured or die.
Statistics show that young drivers 25-34 are the worst seatbelt offenders, with 93% of us wearing our seat belts at all times when driving.
In Ontario all drivers and passengers must wear a seatbelt that is secured and properly fastened. Drivers must also ensure that children are secured in the appropriate booster or car seat, and that it is fixed to the car in an appropriate manner. If you are having trouble with figuring out how to affix your car seat properly the local fire departments hold safety days, and most car dealerships are also able to show you how to install them.
If driving, you will face a fine for anyone in your car under 16 who isn’t properly secured. The fine is between $200-$1000 dollars. You will also receive 2 demerit points. Having a broken seatbelt , even if you aren’t using it, may result in a fine as well.
Wearing the seatbelt properly is very important. According to the MTO website:
- wear your seatbelt so that it crosses your chest and your lower hips - these areas of the body are better able to resist the force of a crash
- make sure you have one working seatbelt for every person in your vehicle
If you're pregnant, you still need to wear a seatbelt. You should:
- wear both the lap and shoulder belt
- sit as upright as possible
- wear the lap belt low so it pulls downward on your pelvic bones and not across your stomach
- wear any part of your seatbelt twisted - a twisted seatbelt won't spread the force of a crash across your body to protect you properly
- put the shoulder strap under your arm or behind your back
Air bags do not take the place of a seatbelt. They won't prevent you or your passengers from being thrown out of your car, and they can also injure children.
Passengers over age 16
Passengers who are 16 years of age or older are responsible for buckling up themselves. If you appear to be at least 16 years of age, police officers can ask you for your name, address and date of birth. You will face a fine if you are not using or wearing a seatbelt properly.
Seatbelts in taxis
You must wear a seatbelt whenever you travel in a taxi. Taxi drivers must make sure that their cars have seatbelts in good working order.
The law does not require the taxi driver to provide a child car seat. When travelling in a taxi with a child, you should provide your own child car seat or booster seat.
Passengers under age 16
While they're not required to sit in the back seat, research has shown that children under age 13 are safest in the back seat of motor vehicles away from active airbags.
Exception: Where a back seat is unavailable, or if the back seat is a sideways facing seat, such as in a light-duty truck, children can sit in the front seat only if:
- there is no active airbag for the front seat
- the front air bag can be switched off*
*If there is no switch to turn the air bag on/off, visit Transport Canada for more information on their deactivation program.
You can get information on child passenger safety from your local public health unit.
Choose a child car seat
No seatbelts needed
Seatbelts are not required in the following vehicles:
- buses (including school buses)
- other large commercial vehicles (over 4,536 kg) that don't require seatbelts to be installed in rear seating positions at the time of manufacture
- vehicles that were manufactured in or imported into Canada before January 1, 1974
- vehicles manufactured without seatbelt assemblies for each seating position
Seatbelts are not required for the following passengers:
- people with medical certificates stating they are unable to wear a seatbelt
- people engaged in work that requires them to exit from and re-enter the vehicle at frequent intervals (must travel less than 40 km/h)
- a person in police custody while being transported, as well as police or peace officers while transporting a person in custody
- employees and agents of Canada Post delivering rural mail
- ambulance attendants and those being transported in the patient's compartment of an ambulance
- firefighters in the rear of a fire department vehicle while responding to an emergency
- taxi cab drivers while transporting a passenger for hire (when travelling alone in the vehicle, taxi cab drivers must wear a seatbelt)
- anyone legally driving a motor vehicle in reverse