Orillia, Ontario – The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) reported that it checked more than 1.24 million vehicles during its annual spring seatbelt initiative, which ended on the weekend. Four people died as a result of not wearing seatbelts during the province-wide campaign, which began April 16.

The OPP, which is responsible for about 70 per cent of the province’s highways, laid 10,753 charges against drivers, 4,481 against passengers, and charged 274 drivers for not having a properly-installed child restraint. In one incident, the police stopped a passenger van in which 12 of the 15 people inside were not wearing seatbelts.

“Ontario has one of the highest compliance rates for seatbelt use of any jurisdiction in North America,” said OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino. “But there are still drivers out there who don’t seem to get it. We had four people die during the campaign because they weren’t buckled up. The few seconds it takes to buckle up could be the difference between living and dying if you are involved in a serious collision.”

Last year, 117 people were killed on roads patrolled by the OPP as a result of not wearing seatbelts, an increase of 14.7 per cent over 2006. So far this year, 27 people have died on OPP-patrolled roads, a decrease of 28.9 per cent over the same time last year, when 38 people had been killed.

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