The Ontario Provincial Police is reminding people that seatbelts save lives.

All of the O.P.P. detachments are gearing up for the fall seatbelt campaign. This campaign is designed to educate drivers about the importance of wearing a seatbelt. The Community Safety Coordinator for O.P.P. Central, Jason Folz says that “even the simplest of crashes can be fatal if you’re not wearing your seatbelt.” He added that seat belts are designed “to work with the airbag systems, not separate.” Folz says that so far this year the O.P.P. has investigated 34 fatalities where the victim was not wearing a seatbelt. That’s four more than last year.

The seatbelt campaign is not just officers checking for seatbelts on the roads, Folz says it’s also an education campaign, adding that seatbelts are important 24/7. Folz says that seatbelt wearing is one of the major focuses the O.P.P. dedicates campaigns to. The other three are impaired driving, aggressive driving, and distracted driving.

Brad Blair, the Deputy Commissioner and provincial commander, says “Regardless of technological advances in vehicle safety, a seat belt remains your first line of defence and your best chance of surviving a collision. While airbags are the second line of defence, they will not restrain you. Only your seat belt can hold you in place. Whether you are a driver or passenger, don’t let anyone in a vehicle be without their seat belt properly fastened.”

The O.P.P. says that although only seven per cent of people do not buckle up, they account for 40 per cent of fatalities in vehicle collisions.