Requirement to Wear Seatbelts

Do Children’s Car Seats really keep children safe? Yes  –  for more information read (see link)

Are there any recent studies that suggest the safety factor for Infants, Toddlers and Children
in child car seats
? Yes – for more information read (see link)

Seat Belts – do I have to wear one, while driving a motor vehicle?

Normally, yes.  But for those drivers who cannot wear a seat belt and do not want to receive tickets for not wearing one, see Section 106, subsection (6)“Exception” and for passengers who cannot wear seat belts for the same reasons see Section 106, subsection (7) “Same”.

Pursuant to the Highway Traffic Act (HTA), R.S.O. 1990, Chapter H.8, Section 106 “ Seat belts” states:

Section 106 (2) – Use of seat belt assembly by driver :

(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 as required by subsection (5).

Section 106 (3) – Use of seat belt assembly by passenger :

(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 as required by subsection (5)

Section 106 (4) – Driver to ensure young passenger uses seat belt assembly:

(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 as required by Subsection (5); or

(b) that passenger is required by the regulations to be secured by a child restraint system, and is so secured.

Section 106 (5) – How to wear seat belt assembly:

(5) A seat belt assembly shall be worn so that,

(a) the pelvic restraint is worn firmly against the body and across the hips;

(b) the torso restraint, if there is one, is worn closely against the body and over the shoulder and across the chest;

(c) the pelvic restraint, and the torso restraint, if there is one, are securely fastened; and

(d) no more than one person is wearing the seat belt assembly at any one time.

Section 106 (6) – Exception:

(6) Subsections (2) and (3) do not apply to a person,

(a) who is driving a motor vehicle in reverse,

(b) who holds a certificate signed by a legally qualified medical practitioner certifying that the person is,

(i) for the period stated in the certificate, unable for medical reasons to wear a seat belt assembly, or

(ii) because of the person’s size, build or other physical characteristic, unable to wear a sear belt assembly; or

(c) who is actually engaged in work which requires him or her to alight from and re-enter the motor vehicle at frequent intervals and the motor vehicle does not travel at a speed exceeding 40 kilometres per hour.

Section 106 (7) – Same:

(7) Clause (4) (a) does not apply in respect of a passenger if the passenger holds a certificate signed by a legally qualified medical practitioner certifying that the passenger is,

(a) for the period stated in the certificate, unable for medical reasons to wear a seat belt assembly; or

(b) because of the person’s size, build or other physical characteristic, unable to wear a seat belt assembly.

If you cannot wear a seat belt for a number of reasons, you must go to your doctor and ask him/her to provide you with a medical certificate stating this.  The certificate or letter, must provide a “period” which could be a year or five (5) years or whatever other period of time your doctor deems appropriate.

It is not uncommon for individuals to carry a medical certificate (doctor’s letter) which states they cannot wear a seat belt, due to medical reasons.  The “medical reasons” could be something as common as claustrophobia, which causes some people, who wear seat belts, extreme anxiety.

There are a number of medical reasons for not wearing a seat belt: you may have had surgery and your body is on the mend and the seat belt assembly may be irritating your body or is delaying the recuperation time of your injury or surgery.

If you are a large person, not all seat belt assemblies will fit your body and therefore the seat belt should not be worn (but you must have a medical certificate on your person, if you are about to receive a ticket for not wearing your seat belt).

If you drive passengers for a living, you will have to adhere to these laws, especially if your passenger is sixteen (16) years of age or less.  If by chance you are pulled over, and your passenger is under the age of sixteen, you will be charged if your passenger is not wearing his/her seat belt assembly, unless you can establish that you exercised reasonable care or due diligence, with respect to ensuring that your passenger was wearing his or her seat belt, before you embarked on your trip.  If your passenger is sixteen (16) years or older and they are not wearing their seat belt while you are driving, they can be charged, not you.

On April 8, 2004 in the Province of Ontario, there was a provincial seat belt campaign taking place.  Police Constable Isaac, a Peel Police Officer, was performng his duties on that day, which included participating in the Provincial blitz with respect to seat belt infractions, in the Region of Peel.  Mr. Ashwani Kanda was driving his two sons, aged twelve (12) and eight (8) to school on April 8, 2004.  Mr. Kanda testified he has ensured that both of his boys were wearing their seat belts (his older son in the front seat and younger one in the back seat) when he left his family home.  Constable Isaac’s noticed the younger son in the back seat of the car leaning forward, leading Constable to conclude that the youngster was not wearing his “seat belt” and as a result, he followed Mr. Kanda’s car.  Mr. Kanda stated that he was not aware that his younger son seated in the back seat, had unfastened his seat belt during the drive, until he was pulled over by Constable Isaac’s and provided with a certificate of offence (a “ticket”) under section 106 (6) of the Highway Traffic Act (now section 106 (4) of the Highway Traffic Act). Mr. Kanda decided to fight his ticket and went to trial on August 24, 2006.  On August 24, 2006 his trial was heard by Justice of the Peace Darlene Florence.  At the trial, JP Florence determined that section 106 (6) of the Highway Traffic Act was an “absolute liability” offence and with this in mind, she convicted Mr. Kanda. The penalty imposed by Justice of the Peace Florence was an $85.00 fine and two (2) demerit points. In accordance with section 139, Mr. Kanda appealed this decision and the trial Judge decided that this was a “strict liability” offence and accepted Mr. Kanda’s explanation as someone who exercised “due diligence” or resonable care and put aside the original ruling by Justice of the Peace Florence and dismissed the charge against him.  This was appealed to the Court of Appeal on December 3, 2007.  The Court of Appeal agreed with the trial judge’s ruling that an offence, pursuant to section 106 (6) of the Highway Traffic Act was a “strict liability offence” and dismissed the appeal, in a decision dated January 15, 2008. As long as you take all reasonable care or exercise due diligence, you have a justifiable excuse in front of the Court’s.  See Kanda decision

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