How does seat belt use vary across Canada?OPP kick off annual fall seat belt compliance campaign. Do you buckle up?

Seat belt use in Canada is high. It's been estimated that more than 95 per cent of us buckle up. But, given Canada's current population the five per cent who don't regularly buckle up represent almost two million Canadians. That's two million Canadians who regularly chance a traffic ticket that may not only affect their car insurance rate, but, more importantly, cause unnecessary risk to their safety.

Police across Canada still consider not wearing a seatbelt one of the "Big Four Killers" on the road along with aggressive driving, driving while impaired, and distracted driving. How can it still be considered one of the Big Four if 95 per cent of us buckle up? Because, in collisions where there's a fatality, about one-third were not strapped in.

Statistics like these are why every fall the OPP remind motorists to buckle up with their Fall Seat belt Campaign.

"Adult seat belt use is the most effective way to save lives and reduce injuries in motor vehicle collisions. Yet thousands of adults still do not wear their seat belts on every trip. Not wearing a seat belt can be a fatal decision even on short, familiar journeys and at low speeds. We know that enforcement of seat belt laws does make a difference in getting more people to buckle up, so OPP officers will be diligent during this campaign," says OPP Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair, Traffic Safety and Operational Support.

How does seat belt use vary across Canada?

In 2011, Transport Canada released the results of its seat belt use in Canada survey, and while the survey found that overall 95 per cent of us buckled up, it also noted some significant regional variations.

Seat belt use in Canada

Seat belts in Canada: Usage by province

Who doesn't buckle up?

In addition to regional variations, the survey also found that:

  • Passengers and drivers of pickup trucks are less likely to use their seat belt than those in cars, minivans and SUVs; the rate of seat belt use by occupants in pickups is only 92% compared to the national average of 95.3%.
  • Back seat passengers are less likely to buckle up than those in front. The rate of seat belt use was much lower among back seat passengers at 89.2%, compared to front seat passengers at 95.5%.
  • Female drivers are more likely to wear their seatbelt at 96%, over male drivers at 94.3%
  • Drivers in rural areas had a lower seat belt use rate at 92% versus 95.8% in urban areas.
  • Seat belt use generally increases as drivers age. Perhaps we learn as we get older that seatbelts really do exist for a reason; they keep us safe.

Seat belt use in Canada: How does not buckling up affect your car insurance premium?

What would happen to your car insurance rates if you got a ticket for not wearing your seatbelt? We ran some car insurance quotes here at to get a feel for how a ticket (or two) for failing to wear your seat belt would impact an otherwise clean driving record for a 35-year-old driver in Toronto.

The result? The first ticket added 17 per cent to the cheapest car insurance quote, and the second ticket added another 15 per cent.

Seat belts save lives, and wearing one is also the law. Stay safe, and avoid getting tickets by buckling up to keep your car insurance premiums low.

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