Every person travelling in a motor vehicle must wear a seat belt or use a child safety seat. The penalty for seat belt infractions is a fine between $200 and $1,000. Convicted offenders will receive two demerit points.
Drivers are responsible for ensuring that passengers under 16 years of age are using the seat belt or an appropriate child car seat.
Police officers may request that passengers who appear to be at least 16 years of age provide their name, address and date of birth. These passengers may face a fine for not using or wearing a seat belt properly.
There are limited exemptions from wearing seat belts.
Stay Safe and Secure for everyone's sake
When a seat belt is worn correctly, it will apply most of the collision or stopping forces across the chest and pelvis, which are better able to withstand collision forces. A seat belt should not be worn twisted, as the full width of the belt is required to spread motor vehicle collision forces across the body.
Wearing a seat belt loosely or placing the shoulder belt under the arm or behind your back instead of across the chest, could, in the case of a collision or sudden stop, result in an injury-producing impact with the vehicle interior, or ejection from the vehicle. Wearing a lap belt across the stomach, instead of low across the hips, allows collision forces to be applied to the soft tissue of the body, increasing the chance of injury.
Pregnant women must wear seat belts — wearing the lap and shoulder belt and sitting as upright as possible. The lap belt should be worn low so it pulls downward on the pelvic bones and not directly against the abdomen.
Using a seat belt is the single most effective way to reduce the chance of injury or death in a motor vehicle collision. Over 92 percent of Ontarians wear their seat belt regularly. However, those 8 percent who don't represent over 600,000 people. It's easy to see the difference wearing a seat belt makes — for every one percent increase in seat belt use five lives are saved.
At all times, limit the number of occupants in your vehicle to the number of seat belts. Unbelted occupants can become projectiles during a collision and can seriously injure themselves, other passengers or the driver.
You must wear a seat belt whenever you travel in a motor vehicle, including a taxi. It is the taxi driver's responsibility to ensure that the seat belt is available and in good working order. Taxi drivers are responsible for ensuring that passengers under the age of 16 are wearing seat belts. The law does not require the taxi driver to provide a child car seat. When travelling in a taxi with a child, you may provide your own child car seat or booster seat.
For more information on Ontario's seat belt laws, see section 106 and regulation 613 of the Highway Traffic Act.
Motor vehicle drivers who fail to ensure that children in their vehicle are properly secured in a seat belt or child car seat could be charged and face a fine totalling $240 ($200 set fine, $35 victim surcharge, $5 court costs) and two demerit points, and risk injury to the child.
Passengers who are 16 years of age and older are responsible for buckling themselves up. If stopped by a police officer, passengers aged 16 and older must provide their name, address and date of birth to the officer. They can face fine of $240 ($200 set fine, $35 victim surcharge, $5 court costs) for not using or wearing their seat belt properly.
Child passengers who sit in the back seat, particularly in the middle of the back seat, are less likely to be injured during a motor vehicle collision. An exception is if the back seat is the auxiliary seat of a light-duty truck, then the child should sit in the front, but only if there is not an active airbag.
Children who have outgrown their child car seat have not developed the physical characteristics and size for adult seat belts to be fully effective. They must use a booster seat.
Booster seats are required for children under the age of eight, weighing 18 kg or more but less than 36 kg (40-80 lbs) and who stand less than 145 cm (4 feet 9 inches) tall.
A child can start using a seatbelt alone once any one of the following criteria is met:
Infants under 9 kg (20 lb.) must be secured in a rear-facing infant car seat. Toddlers 9-18 kg (20 - 40 lb.) who are about a year old and can also pull themselves unassisted to a standing position should travel in a forward-facing child car seat secured by both a seat belt (or LATCH/UAS system) and a tether strap, attached to an anchor bolted into the vehicle's frame.
Your local public health unit will be able to provide you with information on child passenger safety as well as inform you about upcoming child car seat inspection clinics. Public health units have trained personnel who can provide workshops or information about child car seats, or hold child car seat inspection clinics.
Seatbelt exemptions continue to include:
For vehicles that were not manufactured with seatbelts, the following exemptions apply:
For more information about seat belts and child car seats please complete our online feedback form, or contact the Ministry of Transportation at 1-800-268-4686 (TTY: 1-866-471-8929).