ICBC: The top five facts you should know about seatbelts

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As part of September’s Seatbelt Awareness month

Sep 24, 2009 – VANCOUVER – Did you know that you are 25 times more likely to be killed or injured in a crash if you are ejected from the vehicle? Now that’s a reason to buckle up.

As September’s Seatbelt Awareness campaign continues throughout the province, ICBC is reminding drivers and passengers about the importance of wearing a seatbelt. The campaign includes advertising and enhanced police enforcement intended to encourage drivers and passengers to buckle up.

95 per cent of British Columbians buckle up, but the consequences for the remaining 5 per cent aren’t pretty. From 2004 to 2008, on average 1,601 people were injured and 106 were killed yearly in crashes in BC when the victim was not wearing a restraint (seatbelt, child restraint system or booster seat).

Here are the top five 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. 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 – 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. As of July 1, 2008, all children over 18kg (40lbs.) must be in booster seats until they are 1.45 metres (4’9″) tall or age nine. It’s important to be 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. 3 – 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. 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 your seatbelt is $167 – including a 15 per cent victim surcharge. Remember that if your passenger is under 16 years old, you are responsible for ensuring that they are properly restrained.

For more tips and to learn how to wear a seatbelt properly, visit icbc.comicbc.com (http://www.icbc.com/road-safety/safer-drivers).