The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has endorsed proposed amendments to Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act that would require one seatbelt for each passenger in a vehicle.
“We applaud [Ontario Transportation] Minister Donna Cansfield for taking swift action to address this serious road safety concern” Mark Yakabuski, IBC’s vice-president, federal affairs and Ontario, said in a press release.
“Ontario’s road safety record is the envy of the world precisely because of forward looking legislation like the amendments introduced today. We are confident that today’s changes will help prevent further injury and death on our roads, and we fully encourage the legislative assembly to enact the bill as quickly as possible.”
The McGuinty government introduced the amendments to the Highway Traffic Act on Oct. 16. In 1976, Ontario was the first North American jurisdiction to require vehicle drivers and passengers to wear seatbelts.
“This government made it mandatory for all children to be secured in a child car safety seat or booster seat when traveling,” Cansfield said in a press release announcing the proposed amendments. “We’re taking it one step further. We want to prevent people from getting into a vehicle that doesn’t have enough seatbelts.”
A recent survey by Transport Canada found Ontario has the second-highest rate of seatbelt use in urban areas in Canada – nearly 93%. That’s above the national average of just over 91%.
At the same time, the latest statistics show about one third of all drivers and passengers killed in motor vehicle collisions were not wearing seatbelts.
“For every 1% increase in seatbelt usage, five lives are saved,” Cansfield said. “That’s why we introduced legislation today to ensure that everyone who gets in a vehicle on an Ontario road is safely secured.”