The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are reporting a 20-year low and a steady decrease in seat belt-related deaths as they get set to conduct their Seat Belt Campaign over the Easter Long Weekend.
A total of 45 seat belt-related road fatalities occurred on OPP-patrolled roads in 2016, marking the lowest number on record in the last 20 years. Also notable over the 20-year period is the number dipping below the 50 mark for the first time in 2015 and 2016 (see data below).
The OPP attributes the downward trend, in part, to its Provincial Traffic Safety Program (PTSP). The PTSP is a proactive, high visibility approach to traffic safety enforcement and education that focuses on lack of seat belt use and other high-risk behaviours that account for the majority of OPP-investigated deaths on roads, waterways and trails.
Since its implementation in 2007, PTSP has contributed to significantly fewer traffic fatalities overall. While seat belt-related fatalities have proportionately decreased through the success of the PTSP, unbuckled vehicle occupants continue to lose their lives, keeping seat belt education and enforcement a traffic safety priority for the OPP.
Over the Easter Long Weekend, road users can expect to see high police visibility as the OPP carries out its April 14-17, 2017 Seat Belt Campaign. Officers hope to see all drivers and passengers buckled up as well as children safely restrained.
Drivers are responsible for ensuring children who are not big or old enough to use a seat belt are secured in an appropriate child car seat or booster seat.