OPP reveal who is least likely to buckle up

Seat Belt (Photo courtesy of morguefile.com)

The Ontario Provincial Police say they still have difficulty selling the benefits of seatbelt use to some drivers, and the worst offenders are the ones for whom it has always been the law.

Police said between 2012 and 2021, 542 people died because they didn’t buckle up, and the vehicle they were in crashed.  The number was 47 last year.

Wearing a seatbelt became the law in Ontario 46 years ago, in 1976, but police still laid close to 1,000 seatbelt charges so far this year.

Drivers between the ages of 25 and 34 had the highest percentage of fatalities.  They accounted for 24 per cent of those deaths.

Those between 15 and 24-years accounted for 22.3 per cent of those deaths, while 13.5 per cent were aged 35 to 44.

While seatbelts have proven effective in saving lives time and time again, the OPP said those who were caught not wearing one had some interesting excuses.

One pervasive myth is that they are not necessary for short or low-traffic trips, while another is that seatbelts can trap a passenger and exacerbate injuries.

Others said they were uncomfortable.

For those who think airbags make seatbelts unnecessary, the OPP suggest the opposite is true.

“An airbag deploying in front of or beside an unbuckled driver or passenger can result in serious injuries and even death,” said police.

Overall, there were 315 fatalities on OPP-patrolled roads last year representing a three per cent increase over the year before.  Speed-related deaths were at a ten-year high with 81 deaths.

The OPP will be looking for drivers and passengers who don’t buckle up over the Easter long weekend.