Seatbelts are an essential component of safety when driving or sitting in any motor vehicle. Seatbelts can prevent injuries and fatalities when they are worn properly; by contrast, people who don’t wear seatbelts can injure or kill themselves and others when accidents happen on the road. Laws regulating the use of seat belts are designed to help increase safety on the road for everyone, drivers and passengers included. If you are a driver or passenger in British Columbia, then you need to know about BC seatbelt laws; the following guide will help you understand the basics about BC seatbelt laws on the books.
Do You Have to Wear Seatbelts in British Columbia?
Yes. It is mandatory in British Columbia that all passengers and drivers wear seat belts. This law was passed in 1977 and since then, additional regulations have been issued further defining and clarifying seat belt requirements in British Columbia.
Additional British Columbia Seatbelt Requirements
There are seat belt requirements for motor vehicles that are being driven or even sold in British Columbia. Motor vehicles being sold or driven in British Columbia must have at least 2 seat belts in the front seat; and it is illegal for someone to sell or drive a motor vehicle which does not have seatbelts or which has had the seat belts removed.
Child Car Seat Restraint requirements
Older passengers aren’t the only ones required to wear seat belts. British Columbia also has laws on the books regarding child car seat restraints, which are defined by law in 4 different stages by age and/or weight. Children in Stage 1 must be secured in a rear-facing infant seat; children in stage 2 must be secured in a child safety seat; children in stage 3 must be placed in a booster seat with a lap and shoulder belt; and children in stage 4 must be in the back seat with a properly adjusted seatbelt.
What Drivers Need to Know About Passengers Who Don’t Wear Seatbelts
Legally, drivers are responsible for ensuring that all passengers under the age of 16 are wearing seat belts and that those seat belts are properly adjusted and used. Passengers who are over 16 are legally responsible for their own seat belts, which they are still required to wear.
What Are The Legal Consequences for Not Wearing Seatbelts?
There is currently a fine of $167.00 for each violation of not wearing a seat belt per person over the age of 16. Additional counts can be made against a driver who is driving a motor vehicle with passengers under 16 who are not wearing proper seatbelts or restraints. Drivers who do not wear seat belts and are injured in an accident may become ineligible to receive damages due to their injury, if their injuries were caused by their decision to not wear a seat belt.
Remember: if you are driving a motor vehicle in British Columbia or you are a passenger in a motor vehicle in British Columbia, you must wear a seat belt.