OPP share data on seatbelt use ahead of long weekend seatbelt campaign

With the holiday weekend upon us, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) will be conducting a ‘Long Weekend Seatbelt Campaign,’ and are sharing insightful data regarding the use of seatbelts by Ontario drivers in advance.

From 2012 to 2021, those aged 25 to 34 made up 25 per cent of fatalities in collisions where a lack of seatbelt was a factor, according to the Ontario Provincial Police. Photo by Alexandria Gilliott.

According to the OPP, there are three age demographics who were least likely to buckle their seatbelts based on police 10-year fatality data. Those demographics are, in ascending order: the 25 to 34 age group, the 15 to 24 age group, and the 35 to 44 age group.

Between 2012 and 2021, 542 people died in collisions in Ontario where a lack of seatbelt use was a factor in their deaths, the OPP said in a press release on Thursday, Apr. 14, 2022. Of those deaths, 24 per cent were in those aged 25 to 34, the highest rate of such fatalities. Just under that, those aged 15 to 24 accounted for 22.3 per cent of the collision deaths in which lack of seatbelt was a factor, followed by those aged 35 to 44, who made up 13.5 per cent of those deaths.

Perhaps the most alarming finding in the data, 75 per cent of collision deaths where a lack of seatbelt was a factor were those of drivers, as opposed to passengers, according to the OPP.

While police said that the majority of drivers and passengers understand the “lifesaving value” of seatbelts, “the many excuses for failing to buckle up cost road users their lives year after year.” Those excuses include things such as “only driving for a short distance or at low speeds,” seatbelts “being uncomfortable” to wear, the concept that seatbelts are “no longer needed because of airbags,” and “the myth that wearing a seatbelt will trap a person and make things worse during a crash,” the OPP said.

“The OPP is reminding drivers and passengers that wearing a seatbelt has been proven time and time again to save lives in a collision,” the OPP said.

“Drivers are encouraged to set a good example for teens and other young drivers and passengers by buckling up for every ride, ensuring they do too, and to help them form a life-long habit of wearing this important life-saving device.”

From Friday, Apr. 15 to Monday, Apr. 18, 2022, OPP officers will be focusing on “seatbelt law enforcement and education” as they monitor the roads to help keep those travelling this weekend (for any distance) safe. Throughout that time, locally, members of the Frontenac and Sharbot Lake Detachments of the OPP will be participating in this ‘Provincial Traffic Safety Campaign’ with an emphasis on ‘Seatbelt Compliance,’ the Frontenac OPP said in a press release.

“Road users should expect to see a much higher volume of traffic in the Frontenac Townships over this upcoming Easter long weekend. This makes it a particularly important weekend for all drivers, passengers, and young children to be properly restrained within a vehicle, regardless of how short the trip may be,” the local OPP detachment stated.

“Everyone travelling in a motor vehicle must properly wear a seatbelt and children must be properly secured in a child car seat. Drivers are responsible for ensuring all passengers under the age of 16 are properly secured in either a seatbelt or child car seat.”

Failure to do so, the OPP said, can result in a $240 fine, and two demerit points. The OPP also cautioned that drivers are required by law to ensure they have proper (and properly installed) child car seats for babies, toddlers and small children.

“The OPP would like to wish everyone a safe and Happy Easter. Let’s work together and make our roadways this Easter long weekend the safest in Canada,” the Frontenac OPP said.

“Members of the Frontenac and Sharbot Lake Detachments are committed to public safety, delivering proactive and innovative policing in partnership with our communities. Officers value your contribution to building safe communities.”

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