Transport Canada reports that while 93 percent of Canadians buckle up, the seven percent who don’t account for almost 40 percent of fatalities in vehicle collisions. That is why you are bound by law to wear a seat belt in Ontario, like in other provinces of Canada. If you are caught driving or riding in a vehicle without wearing a seat belt, you could face fines and penalties.
In this blog post, we will discuss the laws around wearing a seat belt in Ontario and what to do if you receive a ticket for not wearing one. We will also answer some of the most frequently asked questions about seat belt laws in Ontario, Canada.
What is a Seat Belt? How Does it Work?
A seat belt is a device that helps to keep people safe in a vehicle by keeping them securely fastened in their seats. Seat belts work by spreading the force of a collision over the body’s strongest parts. The lap portion of the seat belt should be worn low and snug across the hips, while the shoulder portion should be worn over the collarbone and away from the neck. In a frontal impact collision, the seat belt will spread the force of the collision over the strong bones in the pelvis and hips. In a side-impact collision, the seat belt will spread the force of the collision over the strong bones in the shoulder and collarbone.
You should always wear a seat belt when you are in a moving vehicle. Seat belts are most effective when used correctly, so it is important to make sure that you are wearing yours correctly. You should also make sure that your passengers are wearing seat belts, as they can help to protect them in the event of a collision.
According to the Safety Council of Canada, Seatbelts save about 1,000 lives a year in Canada. More lives could be saved if everyone buckled up for every trip. Seat belts are the most effective way to reduce the risk of serious injury or death in a collision. Wearing a seat belt can help protect you from being ejected from the vehicle, and it can also help to keep you in your seat so that you are less likely to be thrown around the inside of the vehicle.
What is the Seat Belt Law in Ontario?
The Seat Belt Law in Ontario requires all drivers and passengers in a vehicle to be properly secured with a seat belt. The driver is responsible for ensuring that all passengers under the age of 16 are properly fastened with a seat belt. The law also requires that child car seat and boosters be used for children under the age of 16.
Let us see in detail which sections of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act and Motor Vehicle Safety Act cover the seat belt laws.
Laws Prohibiting Removal of Alteration of Seat Belts:
Section 106 (1) prohibits removing or altering seat belts present in the vehicle. The Highway Traffic Act of Ontario states:
106. (1) No person shall drive on a highway a motor vehicle in which a seat belt assembly required under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act (Canada) at the time that the vehicle was manufactured or imported into Canada has been removed, rendered partly or wholly inoperative, modified so as to reduce its effectiveness or is not operating properly through lack of maintenance.
Law For Use of Seat Belt Assembly by Drivers:
Similarly, section 106 (2) makes it necessary for the motor vehicle drivers to use a seat belt assembly if it is present in the vehicle. The Highway Traffic Act of Ontario says:
106. (2) Every person who drives on a highway a motor vehicle in which a seat belt assembly is provided for the driver shall wear the complete seat belt assembly.
Law For Use of Seat Belt Assembly by Passengers:
Both minor and adult passengers are required to wear a seat belt at all times. Failing to do so will result in demerit points and traffic ticket.
For Passengers Over 16 Years of Age:
The Highway Traffic Act of Ontario says:
106. (3) Every person who is at least 16 years old and is a passenger in a motor vehicle on a highway shall,
(a) occupy a seating position for which a seat belt assembly has been provided; and
(b) wear the complete seat belt assembly
For Passengers Below 16 Years of Age
The Highway Traffic Act of Ontario says:
106. (4) No person shall drive on a highway a motor vehicle in which there is a passenger who is under 16 years old unless,
(a) that passenger,
(i) occupies a seating position for which a seat belt assembly has been provided, and
(ii) is wearing the complete seat belt assembly
(b) or that passenger is required by the regulations to be secured by a child seating system.
What is the Penalty for Not Wearing a Seat Belt?
The seat belt law in Ontario, Canada, requires drivers and passengers in the front seat of a vehicle to wear a seat belt. The penalty for not wearing a seat belt is a fine of between $200 and $1,000. Additionally, if you are convicted of not wearing a seat belt, 2 points will be added to your driver’s record.
You can also be fined if you have a broken seat belt or if you are not wearing a seat belt properly. The fine for these offences is also between $200 and $1000.
What are the Exemptions for Seat Belt Laws in Ontario?
There are a few exceptions to the seat belt law in Ontario. Drivers and passengers are not required to wear a seat belt under these circumstances:
- If you are driving in reverse.
- If you have a medical condition that prevents you from wearing a seat belt. If this is the case, you must have a note from a doctor confirming your condition.
- The above exemption also applies to the passenger. If he/she holds a medical certificate from a qualified medical practitioner stating that he/she should not wear a seat belt for physical or medical reasons.
- If you are engaged in some work that requires you to leave your seat frequently, provided that the vehicle is not going above 40 km/h.
- If a person is in police custody and is being transported by police officers. The law does not bind them or the police officer who is transporting them to wear a seat belt.
- If you are an employee or agent of the Canada post delivering rural mail.
- All the ambulance drivers and attendants are exempted from wearing seat belts while they are on duty.
- Firefighters who are sitting in the rear of a firefighting vehicle are not required to wear seat belts, but they must be securely seated.
- If you are driving a large commercial vehicle and the seat belt assembly was not installed by the manufacturer, you are not required to wear a seat belt.
- Vehicles manufactured without complete seat belt assembly are exempted.
- Buses are not required to have seat belts, but if they do, the driver and passengers must wear them.
How To Fight Seat Belt Tickets in Ontario?
Seat belt tickets are one of the most common types of traffic tickets issued in Ontario. If you’ve been pulled over and given a seat belt ticket, you can do a few things to fight it.
The first thing you should do is request disclosure from the prosecutor. This is a document that will list all the evidence against you, including any witness statements or police reports. If there are errors in the disclosure, such as an incorrect date or location, you may be able to get the charges thrown out entirely.
Once you have reviewed the disclosure, you can start preparing your defence. Depending on the circumstances, there are a few possible defences you can use against a seat belt ticket. For example, if you were pregnant or had a medical condition that made it difficult or uncomfortable to wear a seat belt, you may be able to get the charges reduced or dropped entirely.
No matter what defence you decide to use, it’s important to remember that fighting a seat belt charge is not easy. The best way to improve your chances of success is to hire an experienced traffic lawyer who can help you navigate the legal process and build a strong defence.
How To Wear Seat Belts Properly?
Wearing a seat belt properly is just as important as wearing one at all.
- Make sure that the lap portion of the seat belt is snug against your hips and pelvis, not your stomach.
- The shoulder portion of the seat belt should be positioned over your shoulder and across your chest.
- Never put the shoulder portion of the seat belt behind your back or under your arm – this could result in serious injuries in the event of a collision.
- You must ensure that the seat belt is not twisted from the time you pull it out from the retractor until you snap it into the buckle. If the seat belt is twisted, it will not work properly and could cause serious injuries in a collision.
- In case you are pregnant, it is advisable to wear both the lap and shoulder portions of the seat belt, positioned as low on the hips as possible, below the baby bump. This will provide the best protection for both you and your child in the event of a collision.
Seat belts save lives. That’s a fact. In Ontario, the law requires that everyone in a moving vehicle be properly secured with a seat belt, regardless of their age or location.
There are a few exceptions to this rule, such as for pregnant women or people with medical conditions, but generally speaking, if you’re in a moving vehicle, you need to be wearing a seat belt.
It is important to remember that a seatbelt ticket is difficult to beat, so your best bet is to hire a traffic lawyer who can help you build a strong defence.
Finally, even if you are not required to wear a seat belt by law, it’s always a good idea to do so. Seat belts save lives, and there’s no reason not to take advantage of that protection.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you always have to wear a seat belt while driving?
Yes, all drivers and passengers in Ontario must wear a seat belt at all instances while the vehicle is in motion. Failing to do so could result in a fine. This includes anyone riding in the front seat, back seat, or cargo area of a car, SUV, truck, or van.
Children under the age of 16 must also be properly secured in an appropriate child safety seat or booster seat. Failing to wear a seat belt or properly secure a child in a safety seat can result in significant fines.
Is fighting seat belt tickets worth it in Ontario?
There are several factors to consider when deciding whether or not to fight a seat belt ticket in Ontario. The first is the cost of the ticket itself. A seat belt ticket in Ontario can range from $200 to $1,000, depending on the severity of the offense. If you have the means to pay the fine, it may not be worth your time and energy to fight the ticket. However, if you cannot afford the fine or believe that you were unfairly ticketed, it may be worth your while to contest the ticket.
The second factor to consider is the potential for increased insurance rates. If you are concerned about the impact a seat belt conviction could have on your insurance rates, you may want to consider fighting the ticket.
Ultimately, whether or not fighting a ticket is worth it in Ontario depends on your individual circumstances. Only you can decide whether or not fighting a seat belt ticket is worth it in your particular case.
Can a seat belt ticket affect your insurance rates?
In Ontario, Canada, seat belt tickets can affect your insurance rates. If you are convicted of not wearing a seat belt, your insurance company may consider this to be a conviction for careless driving. This could lead to an increase in your insurance rates. If you have multiple seat belt convictions, your insurance company may decide to cancel your policy.
What happens if you dispute a seat belt ticket?
If you dispute a seat belt ticket, you will have to appear in court to argue your case. The judge will then decide whether or not to dismiss the ticket. If the ticket is not dismissed, you will be responsible for paying the fine.
In fact, the justice of the peace can increase the amount of the fine if you dispute the ticket and lose. It is quite rare, considering the nature of the offense, but it is possible. In Ontario, the court also adds a $40 victim surcharge to every conviction. If you dispute a seat belt ticket and win, the case is dismissed, and you do not have to pay the fine.
Do seat belt tickets go on your driving record?
Yes, seat belt tickets do go on your driving record in Ontario, Canada. This type of ticket is considered a moving violation and will add points to your driving record. Plus, it will stay on your record for three years at least. Therefore, it is important to always wear your seat belt and follow all other traffic laws to avoid getting tickets that could lead to negative consequences down the road.
Can your licence be suspended for not wearing a seat belt?
No, your licence cannot be suspended for not wearing a seat belt in Ontario, Canada. However, you can be fined if you are caught not wearing a seat belt.
Is it possible to get a seat belt ticket dismissed in Ontario?
In some cases, you may be able to have your seat belt ticket dismissed if you can prove that you were wearing a seat belt at the time of the alleged offense. You will need to provide evidence to support your claims, such as a photo of you wearing a seat belt or a witness statement.
If the court is satisfied that you were indeed wearing a seat belt, they may dismiss the ticket. However, this is entirely up to the court’s discretion, and there is no guarantee that your ticket will be dismissed.