That's why officers continue to ramp up enforcement of seatbelt compliance. The OPP has embarked on its annual seatbelt campaign, in effect until Oct. 6. During this time, OPP officers will increase their visibility throughout the province to ensure that motorists are wearing their seatbelts and that children are properly restrained.
Twenty per cent of all fatalities this year on OPP-patrolled roads have been the result of individuals not wearing or improperly wearing their vehicle restraints. This number is unacceptable, said Chief Superintendent Don Bell, commander of the Highway Safety Division.
“Every day, OPP officers see needless injuries and deaths on our roads that could have been prevented by wearing seatbelts,” said Bell. “Remember, it’s one person; one seatbelt.”
“People who don’t wear seatbelts are much more likely to sustain a major trauma in a collision, and the results are devastating,” said Joanne Banfield, manager of Trauma Injury Prevention, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. “It’s up to all Ontarians to prevent these tragedies.”
Ontario made the use of child car seats mandatory in 1976. Today, all caregivers — including parents, grandparents and child-care providers — are responsible for ensuring that children under the age of 16 in their care are properly secured with the appropriate child car seat, booster seat or seatbelt.
Seatbelt non-compliance draws a fine of $200 and two demerit points.
“In the 36 years since the seatbelt laws came into effect, you would wonder why we still have to have these provincial campaigns,” said OPP Deputy Commissioner Larry Beechey. “It should be automatic that when you get into a vehicle, you buckle up.”
A correctly used child safety seat can reduce the chance of injury or death by 75 per cent, according to the OPP. Furthermore, the most recent Ontario statistics show that people in collisions were 32 times more likely to be killed if they were not wearing a seatbelt.