Drivers not wearing seatbelt in one-third of fatal crashes

We have had seatbelt legislation in most provinces in Canada for at least three generations. Current statistics from Transport Canada show that more than 32 per cent of fatal crashes still involve unbelted drivers and occupants.

In my 40 years of collision investigation experience, I have heard every excuse possible. These excuses or explanations range from the extreme of “I don’t believe in them” to the basic “I forgot” and everything in-between.

Seatbelts are important for two reasons. The first, and often forgotten, reason is that the seatbelt keeps us in the driver’s seat — behind the controls. This allows us to focus on hazard avoidance in a situation and not on trying to stay in the seat. The second reason is to reduce the likelihood of serious/fatal injuries. 

There are many stories about individuals who survived a collision because they were not wearing a seatbelt, and if you are a non-believer, it is easy to believe and accept these stories. There is no guarantee that you will be uninjured or saved simply because you wear your seatbelt. I have cut many seriously/fatally-injured people from car wrecks. You still have to pay attention and drive with caution to avoid being involved in a collision in the first place. 

You cannot decide to put your seatbelt on when confronted with a situation because you will not have time to do so. The seatbelt must be on before you start your trip. It needs to become a habit for you to never move a vehicle, at any time, without your seatbelt fastened. 

There are three impacts in a collision. The first is when the vehicle strikes another object and is crushed and deformed as it eliminates energy. The second is when the vehicle has stopped and everything in the vehicle including occupants continue forward at the original speed of the vehicle until they load up in the seatbelt or impact the dash, windshield, steering wheel and seats. The third impact involves our internal organs as they move and stop inside our bodies at the vehicle’s original speed. The seatbelt does an incredible job of protecting drivers and occupants because it attaches the individual to the vehicle and allows the vehicle to dissipate the energy before it gets to us. 

If you choose not to wear a seatbelt you are increasing your likelihood of serious injury or death if involved in a significant collision or rollover. If this were to occur, it is your family who will then have to deal with the consequences — not you.

Wear your seatbelt for your family. Here is the story about one man who was glad that he did:

Grant Aune is the president and CEO of Advantage Fleet Services, headquartered in Chilliwack, B.C. For more information, visit or call 1-(866)-433-2374.