Seat Belt Tickets

About

Seat Belt TicketDrivers are required under the Highway Traffic Act of Ontario to wear the complete seat belt assembly, while operating a motor vehicle on the roadway.

The driver is responsible to ensure passengers under the age of 16 years wear seat belts.

Drivers must also ensure that small children and infants be placed in child seats and are restrained within the vehicle.


Passengers over the age of 16 years

Every person who is at least 16 years of age, and is a passenger in a motor vehicle on a road shall

  • occupy a seat for which a seat belt has been provided, and
  • wear the complete seat belt assembly

How to wear the seat belt

The seat belt must be worn so that:

  • the pelvic restraint is worn firmly against the body and across the hips
  • the torso restraint, if there is one, is worn closely against the body and over the shoulder and across the chest
  • the pelvic restraint, and the torso restraint, if there is one, are securely fastened, and
  • no more than one person is wearing the seat belt assembly at one time

Seat Belt Exemptions

The above rules do not apply to a person:

  • who is driving the vehicle in reverse
  • has a valid medical certificate signed by a doctor, that
    • for the period stated in the certificate
    • is unable for medical reasons
    • to wear a seat belt assembly
    • due to their size, build or otherwise
  • a driver who is actually engaged in work that requires them
    • to alight from or re-enter the vehicle
    • at frequent intervals, and
    • the vehicle does not exceed 40km/h

Definition

“seat belt assembly” means a device or assembly composed of straps, webbing or similar material that restrains the movement of a person in order to prevent or mitigate injury to the person and includes a pelvic restraint or pelvic restraint and a torso restraint.


Seat belt assembly must not be removed or altered

No person shall drive on a highway a motor vehicle in which a seat belt assembly required under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act (Canada) at the time that the vehicle was manufactured or imported into Canada has been:

  • removed,
  • rendered partly or wholly inoperative,
  • modified so as to reduce its effectiveness or
  • is not operating properly through lack of maintenance.

Insurance Implications

A conviction on the drivers abstract for failing to wear a seat belt or failing to ensure passengers wear the seat belt can affect insurance rates.

Where an accident has occurred the insurance implications will be compounded because:

  • a claim for the accident has been made
  • a conviction has been registered on the driving record

Driving Records/Abstracts

Once the driver is convicted of a traffic ticket, the court sends a notice to the Ministry of Transportation.

Upon receiving the record of conviction, the Ministry of Transportation adds the court conviction to the driving record.

Driving abstracts are available to anyone who has the drivers licence number for a fee payable to the Ministry of Transportation.


Insurance Companies

Therefore the way the insurance company will finds out about the ticket is;

Each insurance company is a private company with their own set of rules and standards.

Some insurance companies will not increase insurance rates for one ticket and others will. The problem is drivers don’t know what the insurance company is going to do, and if asked, there is a chance they will increase it due to the inquiry.

Drivers need to keep their driving records clear.


Fines

The fine for following too closely is $240.00.


Summons to Appear in Court

Where a police officer issues a summons to appear or the driver disputes the ticket, the Justice of the Peace (JP) can increase the fine up to $500.00.  This rarely happens for this offence but it is possible.

The out of court fine is actually, $200.00 but the court adds a $40.00 Victim Fine Surcharge to the ticket.


What is the Victim Fine Surcharge?

  • The provincial government adds a victim fine surcharge (VFS) to every non-parking fine imposed under the Provincial Offences Act.
    • It is deposited into a special fund to help victims of crime.
  • The amount of the VFS is usually 20 per cent of the imposed fine.
    • For example, a $100 fine would result in a $20 surcharge.
    • Fines over $1,000 carry a surcharge of 25 per cent.

Penalties

A seat belt tickets have the following penalties:

  • out of court fine of $2400.00
    • maximum fine of $500.00
  • conviction appears on driving abstract for 3 years
  • can affect insurance rates

Demerit Points

Seat belt tickets have 2 demerit points.


Demerit Point Interviews

If you have to attend an interview, you will get a letter (Notice of Interview) to notify you of the time, date and location of the meeting. If you do not attend your licence could be suspended.

The fee for a demerit point interview is $50 and must be paid in person at any Service Ontario Centre.

You can pay the fee when you receive the Notice of Interview or within 10 business days of attending the interview.

Failure to pay the interview fee will result in the cancellation of your driver’s licence.


Suspensions

There is no licence suspension for not wearing seat belts.


Default Fine Suspension

Any driver maybe suspended where any fine goes into default.  Where the licence is suspended for an unpaid fine, the licence will be suspended until the payment is made to the court.


Demerit Point Suspensions

The accumulation of demerit points can result in a licence suspension.


Legal Definition

Seat belt assembly must not be removed or altered

106 (1) No person shall drive on a highway a motor vehicle in which a seat belt assembly required under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act (Canada) at the time that the vehicle was manufactured or imported into Canada has been removed, rendered partly or wholly inoperative, modified so as to reduce its effectiveness or is not operating properly through lack of maintenance.

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).

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).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 seating system or child restraint system, and is so secured.

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.

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 seat 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.

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.

Regulations

(8) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations,

(a) requiring that children or any class of children be secured in child seating systems and child restraint systems in motor vehicles on highways;

(b) prescribing the specifications of child seating systems and child restraint systems, prescribing different child seating systems and child restraint systems for different classes of children, governing the use of such systems, including prescribing the manner in which a child is to be secured in child seating systems and child restraint systems;

(c) prescribing classes of children, based on the age, height or weight of a child or the relationship of a child to the driver or owner of the motor vehicle;

(d) prescribing classes of motor vehicles, drivers and passengers;

(e) exempting from any of the provisions of this section or the regulations made under this section,

(i) any class of motor vehicle,

(ii) any class of driver or passenger, or

(iii) drivers carrying any prescribed class of passenger,

and prescribing conditions for any such exemption;

(f) prescribing circumstances in which drivers, or any class of driver, is exempt from any of the provisions of this section or the regulations made under this section, and prescribing conditions for any such exemption.

Police may request passenger’s identification

(8.1) A police officer or officer appointed for carrying out the provisions of this Act may request that a passenger in a motor vehicle who appears to be at least 16 years old identify himself or herself if the officer has reason to believe that the passenger is contravening this section or the regulations made under this section.

Same
(8.2) A passenger who is requested to identify himself or herself under subsection (8.1) shall give the officer reasonable identification of himself or herself and, for such purposes, giving his or her correct name, date of birth and address is reasonable identification.

Offence

(8.3) Every person who contravenes or fails to comply with this section or a regulation made under this section is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not less than $200 and not more than $1,000.

Definition

(9) In this section,

“seat belt assembly” means a device or assembly composed of straps, webbing or similar material that restrains the movement of a person in order to prevent or mitigate injury to the person and includes a pelvic restraint or a pelvic restraint and a torso restraint.

Case Law

R. v. Maier, 1989 CanLII 3038 (AB QB)
1989-01-18 | 22 pages
seat belt — seat belts — principles of fundamental justice — security of the person — legislation
[…] [32] Similarly, as far as seat belt use is concerned, the rate of injury caused by seat belts is low, but the risk is clearly established. […] While the fatalities and injuries were reduced in Ontario after the introduction of seat belt legislation, no benefits were experienced in Quebec after the introduction of their seat belt legislation. […] In view of the above noted deficiencies in the evidence with respect to the efficacy of seat belts, the Crown has not discharged its onus of proving that compulsory seat belt wearing is rationally connected to the objective of the legislation, that is to say, protection of persons on the highway. […]

 


R. v. Merchant, 1990 CanLII 7372 (SK QB)
1990-09-14 | 3 pages | cited by 1 document
torso restraint — properly adjusted — securely fastened — wearing a seat belt — shoulder
[…] “Every person who drives a vehicle in which a seat belt assembly is provided for the driver on a highway shall wear the complete seat belt assembly in a properly adjusted and securely fastened manner.” […] seat belt assembly consisted of a pelvic restraint that was joined to a torso restraint, using the words in section 77(5) of the Act. Further, the evidence is clear that the appellant was, in the words of section 77(1), driving a vehicle in which a seat belt assembly was provided, and that he was driving on a highway. […] Counsel for the Crown has quite fairly acknowledged that the appellant was wearing a seat belt and that the appellant’s torso was restrained by the torso restraint portion of the seat belt. […]

 


York (Regional Municipality) v. Tassone, 2007 ONCA 215
2007-03-27 | 2 pages | cited by 11 documents
seat belt — vehicle — drives on a highway — provincial offences — red
[…] [1] This appeal involves the interpretation of the Highway Traffic Act, R.S.O. 1990 c.H.8 , s. 106(3) , (since amended) which, at the relevant time, provided that “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 in a […] The officer illuminated the vehicle and confirmed that the driver was not wearing his seat belt. […] The driver then pulled the seat belt across his body. [3] The respondent was charged with failing to wear a seat belt contrary to s. 106(3). […]