Have you ever jumped in the car and forgot to buckle up when you were in a hurry? Are you tempted to skip the child restraint when it is pouring down rain, and you do not want to stand outside trying to wrestle the child into a safety seat or seat belt? If so, you are placing yourself and your child in danger. According to Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation, evidence shows that the seat belt laws in Ontario have helped maintain its “leading road safety record.”
What is Ontario’s Seat Belt Law?
All drivers and passengers must be secured by a safety belt that is securely fastened and properly adjusted. Drivers are responsible for ensuring children are properly secured in a safety seat designed for their age, weight, and height or secured by a belt if they have transitioned out of a car seat or booster seat.
The fine for failing to wear a seat belt is between $200 and $1,000 plus two demerit points on your driving record. Drivers can be fined if anyone in the vehicle under 16 years of age is not properly secured by a belt or a safety seat. Furthermore, you can also be fined if you are stopped, and the police officer discovers a broken seat belt, even if the belt is not being used at the time of the traffic stop.
How Many People Use Seat Belts?
Transport Canada provides usage statistics for child restraints and seat belts throughout the country. All jurisdictions currently have a seat belt law. Based on the information in the report, the seat belt usage rate in Canada is over 95 percent, with usage in four provinces exceeding 95 percent. In Ontario, approximately 96 percent of drivers and occupants use safety belts.
Child safety restraint usage is not as high. A survey revealed that only 90 percent of children under 12 months of age were properly placed in a car seat and only 86 percent of toddlers were in a child safety seat. Booster seats were used only 40 percent of the time for children between the ages of four (4) and eight (8) years. Beginning in 1991, all jurisdictions have laws that require children to be restrained in a safety device.
Buckle Up to Prevent Injuries and Deaths
It is estimated that wearing seat belts can reduce the risk of being killed in a traffic accident by 47 percent. The risk of serious injuries for drivers and occupants wearing safety belts is reduced by 52 percent. The use of child safety restraints can also significantly reduce the risk of death (71 percent) and severe injury (67 percent) for children. Therefore, it is very important to understand the proper way to wear a seat belt and how to secure a child in a safety restraint properly.
The Government of Canada provides information about how to secure children in safety seats and boosters seats properly. It also provides tips for how to buckle up your child in a seat belt when your child is old enough to transition from a safety seat to a seat belt. The following tips are included in the information provided on its website:
- Do not place a shoulder strap behind your child. Shoulder straps must rest on the shoulder — not against the neck or on the arm.
- Lap belts should not be placed over the stomach. Lap belts should fit snugly over your child’s hips.
- A child’s back should be against the back of the seat with knees over the seat and feet on the floor. A child is not tall enough to be in a seat belt unless this is the case.
- Children 12 years of age and younger need to be in the back seat. Front air bags can cause severe harm to a child.
Always use safety restraints appropriate for your child’s age, height, and weight. Always buckle up every time you are in a vehicle to protect yourself and your family.
Ontario Car Accident Lawyers
The team of lawyers at Diamond and Diamond hope you and your family are never injured in a traffic accident. However, if a negligent driver injures you, our lawyers can help you recover the compensation for your injuries that you deserve.
Call our 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to someone now. We offer free consultations and case evaluations.