Written by: Bryan Sansom
It seems so simple – when you get into a car, you should fasten your seatbelt. Yet hundreds of Canadians are injured or killed every year in accidents because they were not wearing a seatbelt. So, how exactly does a seatbelt protect you in a collision?
It restricts your movement in some important ways.
There are three types of impact when a vehicle collides with another object:
- The initial impact: when a car collides with a building, person, guardrail or another car, the speed of the vehicle is immediately reduced.
- The human collision: as the vehicle speed is reduced, the bodies of occupants in the vehicle continue to travel at their original speed. Eventually, the bodies of the occupants collide with something, such as the windshield, dashboard, or even an object outside of the vehicle.
- The internal collision: following the human collision, an occupant’s internal organs collide with his or her bones and other organs, causing massive internal bleeding or death.
A seatbelt may not be able to prevent the initial impact, but it can help with the human and internal collisions. Seatbelts restrain an occupant by focusing the impact on the strongest points of the body: the hip, shoulder, and chest. Instead of colliding with the windshield or dashboard, a seatbelt will lock the occupant in a relatively safe position in their seat. Such restraint effectively reduces the force of the human collision, minimizing the risk of injury.
Each Canadian province and territory has laws pertaining to seatbelt use and penalties for non-compliance. In Ontario, fines for not wearing a seatbelt start at $200, and 2 demerit points. Ontario drivers are also responsible for ensuring that all passengers under the age of 16 are wearing seatbelts.
As critical injury lawyers, we often see the devastating and avoidable consequences of not wearing a seatbelt. Take care of yourself and your loved ones; whether you are driving, riding in a cab, or are otherwise a passenger in a vehicle, always wear a seatbelt.
If you or a loved one is injured in an automobile accident, contact one of the critical injury lawyers at McLeish Orlando LLP for a free consultation.