Seatbelt accidents are no joke. Believe it or not, there was a time when seatbelts and child car seats were not mandatory in Ontario. The seatbelt was invented in 1959, but mandatory seatbelt use did not become law in Ontario until 1976. Since then, thousands of lives have been saved and today more than 92 per cent of all people wear a seatbelt in Ontario. ( www.allontario.ca)
Wearing a seatbelt is one of the most important ways for drivers and passengers to protect themselves. In fact, the chances of surviving a an accident increase dramatically when a seatbelt is worn properly. In case of an accident, seatbelts reduce the risk of passengers striking the interior of the vehicle, colliding with other passengers in the vehicle or being fully ejected from the vehicle. As Ottawa injury lawyers, we read accident reports daily and seatbelts accidents are an integral part of most reports. Click here to read some of our accident cases involving seatbelts accidents. A driver who is not wearing a seatbelt is more than 40 times more likely to be killed in a crash than one who is properly buckled up. (Ministry of Transportation)
Seatbelt accidents laws in Ontario
All Ontario motor vehicle drivers and passengers must wear a seatbelt that is properly adjusted and securely fastened. In addition, the driver of the car is also responsible to make sure that children who are not old enough to wear a seatbelt are secured in a child car seat or booster seat.
Air Bags and Accidents
Air bags do not take the place of a seatbelt. They won’t prevent the driver or passengers from being thrown out of the car. Airbags can injure children.
Seatbelt Accidents in Ontario: Fines and Demerit Points
Drivers can face a fine if he/she, or anyone in the vehicle under age 16, is not wearing a seatbelt or secured in a proper child seat. The safety of passengers is the driver’s responsibility. Fines range from $240 to $1,000 and drivers will receive two demerit points. A driver can also be fined for having a broken seatbelt, even if it is not being used when they are stopped by police.
Passengers who are 16 years old or older are responsible for buckling up themselves. If they appear to be at least 16 years old, police officers can ask you for their name, address and date of birth. Passengers over 16 will face a fine if they are not using or wearing a seatbelt properly.
Seatbelt Accidents and the Back Seat
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 away from active airbags. However, there is an exception. If the vehicle does not have back seat, children can sit in the front seat only if there is no active airbag or the air bag can be switched off.
Seatbelt Accidents Safety Do’s and Don’ts
- wear your seatbelt so that it crosses your chest and 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.
- 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.
Our Ottawa injury lawyers wish you safe travels and don’t forget to buckle up !