Drivesmart column: Wear your seat belt properly: it could save your life

Drivesmart column: Wear your seat belt properly: it could save your life

The proper use of seat belts can double the effectiveness of airbags in minimizing injury.

By Tim Schewe

We all know that the law requires that we wear our seat belts when driving. The Motor Vehicle Act says in part “…wear the complete seat belt assembly in a properly adjusted and securely fastened manner.” Why should we worry, and how do we know what is proper?

During a collision where the occupant is wearing the seat belt properly the hips may move ahead as much as six inches, the chest eight to nine inches and the head 20 inches. You will strike anything within those distances. Wearing a seat belt improperly can actually contribute to injury especially in the case where the shoulder belt is worn under the arm.

The proper use of seat belts can double the effectiveness of airbags in minimizing injury.

Your vehicle’s owners manual is the best place to learn about how to wear your seat belt properly. It will explain how to fasten and adjust the belt to maximize both comfort and protection. It will also contain information on the correct use of child restraints.

Some examples of what NOT to do with a seat belt: wear the shoulder belt under your arm, continue to use a frayed or broken belt, put more than one child in a single seat belt, using a seat belt if it is twisted and any “do it yourself” webbing repair.

Almost all passenger car and pickup truck drivers in B.C. wear seatbelts and I suspect that most of their passengers do too.

This may not be the case with other types of vehicles such as buses. An article in the Victoria Times Colonist newspaper today reported on a bus crash that occurred on the Bamfield Road on Sept. 13, 2019 while transporting University of Victoria students to a research facility there.

Sgt. Brian Nightingale, an RCMP Collision Reconstruction expert was quoted:

“Had they been worn, the fatal injuries would likely not have occurred,” said Nightingale, “and the injuries would have considerably reduced.” Several people were hurt when they were tossed around inside the bus as it slid off the road.

The bus company involved had chosen to retrofit their vehicle with seatbelts because it had been manufactured without them according to Transport Canada.

Some forms of public transit do not require seatbelts such as school buses and city transit buses. Transport Canada does recognize that seatbelts can provided added protection for students on school buses. However, the implementation has been left up to the province, school board or bus operator.

If they do choose to install seatbelts Transport Canada does regulate how they are to be installed.

Municipal transit buses allow passengers to stand and that is provided for in exemptions set out in Div. 39.03 MVAR. There are limits to the number of standing bus riders depending on the vehicle’s age and the equipment provided by the manufacturer for them.

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement. To comment or learn more, please visit DriveSmartBC.ca

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kendra Thomas from Warmland Women’s Support Services invites Cowichan residents to find out more about youth sex trafficking with an online event Nov. 16, 2020. (File photo)
Learn more about youth sex trafficking with ‘Love Bombing 101’

Nov. 22-28 is Victims and Survivors of Crime Week

Pnina Benyamini loved to be around people and people loved her. (Photo submitted)
Many facets to energetic Chemainus woman’s legacy

Benyamini taught yoga, belly dancing and more to an adoring public

Windy conditions in Nanaimo’s Lost Lake area. (News Bulletin file photo)
Wind warning issued for the east coast of Vancouver Island

Environment Canada says people ‘should be on the lookout’ for adverse weather conditions

Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone has been re-elected as chairman of the board at the CVRD. (File photo)
Aaron Stone re-elected as chairman of the Cowichan Valley Regional District

Blaise Salmon, director for Mill Bay/Malahat, elected as new vice-chairman

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Refuse to follow B.C.’s mask mandate? Face a $230 fine

Masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older

Parksville’s French Creek Harbour experienced a diesel spill on Nov. 23 after a barge and fishing vessel collided. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Coast Guard cleans up diesel spill in Parksville’s French Creek Harbour

Barge carrying fuel truck collides with fishing vessel

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Stock photo
Senior from Gibsons caught viewing child porn sentenced to 10 months

74-year-old pleaded guilty after police seized 1,500-2,500 images

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

BC Teachers' Federation President Teri Mooring is asking parents of school-aged children to encourage the wearing of masks when possible in schools. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
LETTER: Teachers union encourages culture of mask wearing in B.C. schools

BCTF President Teri Mooring asks parents to talk with children about wearing masks in school

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

(Pixabay)
All dance studios, other indoor group fitness facilities must close amid updated COVID-19 rules

Prior announcement had said everything except spin, HIIT and hot yoga could remain open

Most Read