Eric Lai answers readers’ auto questions every week for Wheels.
Q: As a kid riding the TTC, my mom often would warn us that we had to sit properly in the seats on the bus. She said it’s against the law if we faced rearward. I’ve always wondered if this is true for all vehicles. Can you clarify?
More from Eric Lai:
A: I suspect it was just a ploy by mom to gain compliance from her children, much like some parents point out police – much to the chagrin of officers – and warn the kids they’ll get arrested if they don’t behave and obey mom and dad.
First off, there is no HTA seatbelt requirement on public transit vehicles not originally manufactured with seatbelts. Passengers may lawfully sit or stand facing any direction. Some bus and streetcar seats face inward toward the aisle, and in subways, some seats face rearward (though subways are outside HTA jurisdiction).
In passenger vehicles with seatbelts, children under 9 kg (20 lbs) are required to sit in properly secured rear-facing infant seats under the law. Some larger vehicles have rear-facing pop-up seats with seatbelts, and the oddball 1978-1987 Subaru Brat (half car/half pickup) had rear-facing jump seats in the pickup bed.
Generally, passengers in motor vehicles in Ontario must occupy a seatbelt-equipped seating position with the belt properly fastened. So, you’d normally have to sit facing forward, unless it’s a rear or side facing seat. Excess passengers may not sit in the cargo area of an SUV, for example, once all seats are filled.
In an RV being driven on public roads, persons may occupy non-seatbelt equipped positions (at the kitchen table, for example) after all seats with seatbelts are occupied.
Despite the normal requirement to limit passengers to the number of available seatbelts, there is an exemption that allows persons to ride in the back of pickup trucks unsecured. This exemption remains so that farmers, and others, may lawfully transport personnel using pickups. These are typically short trips in and around farm property.
Everything you need to know about purchasing, maintaining and driving your car.
Become a member
Register now to access all features including:
- Save and ask friends to review vehicles
- Exclusive rebates & offers from local dealers
- Premium content, reviews and tools
All for free!
Already a member?
Registration 2 of 2
Welcome to Wheels!
As a final step we've sent a confirmation to your email address as a security measure. Please click the link in the email to complete your registration.
Terms of services
DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTIES AND LIMITATION OF LIABILITY
TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, TORONTO STAR IS PROVIDING THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES ON AN "AS IS" AND â€œAS AVAILABLEâ€ BASIS AND MAKES NO WARRANTIES OR REPRESENTATIONS, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, IN ANY CONNECTION WITH THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES, THEIR CONTENTS, OR ANY WEB SITE OR CONTENTS WITH WHICH IT IS LINKED. TORONTO STAR DOES NOT WARRANT THAT THE FUNCTION OF THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES OR THEIR CONTENTS WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED OR ERROR FREE, THAT DEFECTS WILL BE CORRECTED, OR THAT THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES OR THE SERVERS THAT MAKE IT AVAILABLE ARE FREE OF VIRUSES OR OTHER HARMFUL COMPONENTS.
TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, NEGLIGENCE, SHALL TORONTO STAR BE LIABLE FOR ANY LOSS OF USE, LOSS OF DATA, LOSS OF INCOME OR PROFIT, LOSS OF OR DAMAGE TO PROPERTY, OR FOR ANY DAMAGES OF ANY KIND OR CHARACTER (INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION ANY COMPENSATORY, INCIDENTAL, DIRECT, INDIRECT, SPECIAL, PUNITIVE, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES), EVEN IF TORONTO STAR HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES OR LOSSES, ARISING OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE USE OF THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES, THEIR CONTENTS, OR ANY WEBSITE OR CONTENTS WITH WHICH IT IS LINKED. IN NO EVENT SHALL TORONTO STARâ€™S TOTAL LIABILITY FOR ALL DAMAGES, LOSSES, AND CAUSES OF ACTION, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, TORT (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, NEGLIGENCE), OR OTHERWISE, EXCEED THE AMOUNT PAID BY YOU FOR ACCESSING THIS SITE.X