Be Safe, Wear a Seatbelt

The Sault Ste. Marie Police Service recognizes April as Seatbelt Safety Month.

Traffic Sergeant Joe Poderys says, “I cannot overstate the life-saving importance of wearing a seatbelt. It is a simple action that takes just a moment but can make the difference between life and death in the event of a collision.”

In 2023, Sault Police laid 21 seatbelt-related charges. This number is down from the 33 seatbelt-related charges laid in 2022, but still not zero.

In a collision, people without a seatbelt will crash into the inside of their vehicle and other occupants– and potentially through the windshield – at the same speed the vehicle was going, resulting in serious injury or death.

According to the Ministry of Transportation, roughly one out of five vehicle occupants killed on Ontario’s roads are not wearing a seatbelt, despite Ontario having a 96% seatbelt usage rate.

According to a recent analysis of severe injuries of child passengers, 92% of infants, 74% of toddlers, and 96% of school-aged children were not using an appropriate car seat, or were using one incorrectly, at the time of the crash. Alarmingly, a recent roadside study by The Canadian Pediatric Society found that 73% of car seats were used or installed incorrectly, putting child passengers at risk of severe injury or death.

As a driver, you are responsible for wearing your seatbelt and making sure:

  • Every person in your vehicle has their own working seatbelt
  • Passengers under the age of 16 wear their seatbelts properly in your vehicle
  • Children are secured in an appropriate child car seat or booster seat

Drivers and passengers who do not follow these laws may face fines and penalties. If convicted, you may face:

  • Fines between $200 and $1,000
  • Two demerit points

You can also be fined for having a broken seatbelt, even if it is not being used when you’re stopped by a police officer.

Remember: Seatbelts and car seats save lives! Follow @SaultPolice on social media for seatbelt and car seat safety tips throughout April.

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