Seat Belt Safety and the Law

Guest Contributor August 02, 2019

Seat belts save lives. That is why we all wear them and why there are laws in place to make sure that everyone riding in a car is benefiting from the maximum protection available. Seat belts can help prevent death and reduce injuries in the event of a vehicle collision.

Drivers and passengers are required to buckle up while travelling on Canada’s roads. Drivers are also legally responsible to ensure that any children in the car are safe. So, if you are driving anyone under 16 years of age who is not wearing their seat belt or the appropriate child seat for their size, you can be fined.

If you are convicted, penalties include being a fine of between $200 and $1,000 as well as two demerit points. Demerit points remain on your driving record for two years. You are also responsible for maintaining all of the safety equipment in your car. You can be fined for having a broken seatbelt in your car, even if no one is using that seat when you’re stopped by a police officer.

Buckling Up: Dos and Don’ts.

  • Do wear your seat belt so that it crosses your chest and your lower hips. These areas of the body are best able to resist the force of a collision.
  • Do make sure that you have one working seat belt for every person in your vehicle, and that they are all wearing them.
  • Don’t 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.
  • Don’t put the shoulder strap under your arm or behind your back.
  • Don’t assume that having airbags can replace wearing a seatbelt. Air bags won’t prevent you or your passengers from being thrown out of your car, and they can also injure children. They also won’t get you off the hook of being ticketed for not wearing your seat belt.

If you are pregnant, you still need to wear a seatbelt in a car. Be sure to wear both the lap and shoulder belt, sit as upright as possible, and wear the lap belt low so that it pulls downward on your pelvic bones and not across your stomach.