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Just who's exempt from wearing seatbelts?

Q: What are the specific exceptions for seatbelt use under the new laws? Are taxi/limo passengers exempt?

Published August 18, 2007
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<p> </p><p> </p><strong><font size="2" face="helvetica,arial">Q: </font>What are the specific exceptions for seatbelt use under the new laws? Are taxi/limo passengers exempt?</strong><p> </p><p> </p><font size="2" face="helvetica,arial"><strong>A:</strong> </font><em>Transportation Ministry spokesperson Bob Nichols replies:</em><p> </p><p>Under Ontario's "one person, one seatbelt" legislation, total occupancy of vehicles is limited to the number of available seatbelts, as unsecured riders are no longer permitted.</p><p>Drivers must ensure that passengers under 16 are properly secured in a seatbelt, child car safety seat or booster. Passengers who appear to be 16 or older must provide identification to police for seatbelt enforcement purposes.</p><p>"Doubling up" (two or more people using one seatbelt) is prohibited.</p><p>Seatbelt exemptions include:</p><p>People with a signed medical certificate to that effect.</p><p>Workers who must exit and re-enter the vehicle frequently (e.g. trash collection) – provided they are travelling below 40 km/h.</p><p>Police or peace officers transporting persons in custody, and those being transported.</p><p>Canada Post employees/agents engaged in rural mail delivery.</p><p>Anyone driving in reverse.</p><p>Ambulance attendants and those in the patient compartment.</p><p>Firefighters in the rear of a fire department vehicle.</p><p>Taxicab drivers while transporting a passenger for hire. When travelling alone, drivers must wear a seatbelt.</p><p>For vehicles not manufactured with seatbelts, exemptions include:</p><p>Buses, including school buses.</p><p>Other large commercial vehicles, over 4,536 kg, which did not require rear seatbelts at time of manufacture.</p><p>Historic vehicles not manufactured with seatbelts.</p><p>Drivers and passengers in vehicles manufactured before 1974 are not required to wear shoulder belt restraints, whether or not equipped.</p><p>A Highway Traffic Act conviction for a seatbelt violation carries a $110 fine and two demerit points. The penalty applies for improper use (such as placing the shoulder belt behind your back) or failing to ensure that a child passenger is properly secured.</p><p>There are no seatbelt exemptions for passengers in taxis – only for the driver when carrying passengers for hire.</p><p>Cab drivers are responsible for ensuring that passengers under 16 who may be safely secured by a seatbelt alone (over 8 years old, or 80 pounds, or 4-foot-9) are properly secured in a seatbelt. Passengers 16 and older are responsible for buckling themselves up.</p><p>Cab drivers are exempt from the child car seat and booster seat requirement when transporting a child passenger for hire. They may be used, if available, but are not currently compelled by law in a taxi.</p><p>For the safety of children, it's advised that parents or caregivers bring along and use child seats or boosters, wherever practical, when travelling by taxi with youngsters.</p><p>Taxicab drivers transporting children for personal reasons, or while under contract with a school board or other authority for the transportation of children, are required to comply with the child car seat and booster seat requirements.</p><p>The ministry reviews its Road Safety Program on an ongoing basis, including all seatbelt and child car seat exemptions, with a view to tightening up exemptions where it makes sense.</p><p> </p><hr width="200" align="left" />
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FURTHERMORE</font><p> </p><p>Following an Auto Know article, a letter from a reader published in Yourview suggested that towed vehicles may be stored at collision reporting centres for 24 hours.</p><p>York Regional Police state this is incorrect in their jurisdiction and "under no circumstances are collision vehicles to be stored at the (reporting) centre."</p><p> </p><hr width="90%" /><em>Email non-mechanical questions to Eric Lai at <a href="mailto:wheels@thestar.ca">wheels@thestar.ca</a>.</em><p> </p><p><em>Include year, make, model and km as well as your full name, address and telephone number. Letters may be edited. Letter volume prevents personal replies.</em></p><p> </p>