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New study reminds us that buckling up helps prevent lives from needlessly being lost

February 17, 2012

Seat belt

This week's study from B.C. Coroner's Service serves as a strong reminder to us all about the importance of wearing a seatbelt.

On average, 1,200 injuries and 90 fatalities are observed by police every year in B.C. where a driver or passenger was not properly restrained. This represents 30 per cent of all drivers and passengers killed on B.C. roads every year.*

"We can all do our part to help prevent such tragedies - it takes two simple things: buckle up every time you get into a vehicle and make sure others do too," said ICBC's Fiona Temple, director of road safety.

"Remember that by wearing your seatbelt, you're also helping to keep your passengers safer - if you're involved in a crash without your seatbelt on, you could strike other occupants, the interior of the vehicle or be ejected from the vehicle," said Temple. "As a driver, you're also required by law to make sure that passengers under 16 years old are properly restrained."

Here are some important facts you should know about seatbelts:

No. 1 - Best protection. Seatbelts continue to be the single most effective protective device in your vehicle. An unbuckled 68 kg (150 lbs) adult involved in a 50 km/h frontal crash with a stationary object will strike other occupants, the interior of the vehicle or be ejected with the equivalent force of a 3.5 ton truck. If you are ejected, you are 25 times morelikely to be killed or injured. Even in vehicles equipped with airbags, seatbelts are still a necessity. Airbags were designed to work in conjunction with seatbelts, not replace them.

No. 2 - Take notice. Even drivers who are buckled up have five times the risk of dying in a crash if their rear seat passengers are not wearing seatbelts, according to a Japanese research paper. Always remind those in the vehicle to buckle up - it could save your life. Eighty per cent of the deaths from these types of crashes could have been eliminated if the rear seat passengers had been buckled up.

No. 3 - Keep kids safe. A correctly used child seat reduces the risk of being killed in a crash by 71 per cent and the risk of serious injury by 67 per cent. In B.C., all children over 18kg (40lbs.) must be in booster seats until they are 1.45 metres (4'9") tall or age nine. Be a role model for your children by always wearing your seatbelt and reminding older children to buckle up every time they get into a vehicle.

No. 4 - Never double buckle. Always use a seatbelt for its intended use - never restrain multiple passengers with one belt. The force of a crash will throw both passengers violently together as their bodies attempt to occupy the same space.

No. 5 - Lock it up. All unrestrained objects - pets included - are a hazard in the event of a crash. If you need to transport your pet, use an animal carrier and if possible, restrain the carrier. Never leave unrestrained objects in your vehicle as they can become projectiles in a crash.

The fine for not wearing a seatbelt is $167.

To learn how to properly wear a seatbelt, watch ICBC's video tip here. For more information on seatbelts, visit icbc.com/road-safety/safer-drivers/.

* Annual average in British Columbia over a five-year period based on 2006 to 2010 data. A restraint includes a seatbelt, child restraint system or booster seat.

Media contact:
Lindsay Olsen
604-982-4759