Wearing a seatbelt is the most effective way to reduce injuries and save lives in traffic collisions. Yet every year, the Hamilton Police Service issues hundreds of provincial offence notices for people not wearing seatbelts.

The Law

In Ontario, all motor vehicle drivers and passengers must wear a seatbelt that is securely fastened and properly adjusted. 

As a driver of a motor vehicle, you can face a fine if you or anyone under the age of 16 is not wearing a seatbelt or secured in a proper child car seat.

  • Fines range anywhere from $200-$1000
  • You will receive 2 demerit points on your driving record

Passengers over the age of 16 are responsible for buckling up themselves and will held liable for not using or wearing a seatbelt properly.

Exemptions

The law permits specific exemptions for certain vehicles/conditions.

Seatbelts are not required in the following vehicles:

  • buses (including school buses)
  • other large commercial vehicles (over 4,536 kg) that don't require seatbelts to be installed in rear seating positions at the time of manufacture
  • vehicles that were manufactured in or imported into Canada before January 1, 1974
  • vehicles manufactured without seatbelt assemblies for each seating position

Seatbelts are not required for the following passengers:

  • people with medical certificates stating they are unable to wear a seatbelt
  • people engaged in work that requires them to exit from and re-enter the vehicle at frequent intervals (must travel less than 40 km/h)
  • a person in police custody while being transported, as well as police or peace officers while transporting a person in custody
  • employees and agents of Canada Post delivering rural mail
  • ambulance attendants and those being transported in the patient's compartment of an ambulance
  • firefighters in the rear of a fire department vehicle while responding to an emergency
  • taxi cab drivers while transporting a passenger for hire (when travelling alone in the vehicle, taxi cab drivers must wear a seatbelt)
  • anyone legally driving a motor vehicle in reverse

Wearing a Seatbelt Properly

A typical seat belt has a lap and shoulder belt. The shoulder belt should be worn across your chest – never under your arm or behind your back. The lap belt should be worn across your hips – not your stomach.

It is important that both the lap and shoulder belt be worn close against the body. It should not be torn or twisted in any areas of the belt.

Expectant mothers should wear their lap and shoulder belts while siting as upright as possible. The lap belt should be worn low so it pulls downward on the pelvic bones and not directly against the abdomen.

 

For more information on Seatbelt Safety, please visit the Ontario Ministry of Transportation Website.