Vancouver, British Columbia – The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) is continuing its September Seatbelt Awareness campaign, reminding drivers and passengers about the importance of wearing a seatbelt.

The campaign includes advertising and enhanced police enforcement intended to encourage drivers and passengers to buckle up.

While 95 per cent of British Columbians buckle up, the remaining five per cent can face serious consequences. From 2004 to 2008, on average, 1,601 people were injured and 106 were killed each year in crashes in B.C. when the victim was not wearing a seatbelt, or using a child restraint system or booster seat.

ICBC has released its “top five facts” about seatbelts:

1. Seatbelts continue to be the single most effective protection device in your vehicle. An unbuckled adult weighing 68 kg involved in a 50 km/h frontal crash with a stationary object will strike other occupants, the interior of the vehicle, or be ejected with the equivalent force of a 3.5-ton truck. In vehicles equipped with airbags, seatbelts are a necessity: airbags were designed to work in conjunction with seatbelts, not replace them.

2. A correctly-used child seat reduces the risk of being killed in a crash by 71 per cent, and reduces the risk of serious injury by 67 per cent. All children over 18 kg (40 lbs) must be in booster seats until they are age nine, or 1.45 metres (4-foot-9) tall.

3. Even drivers who are buckled up have five times the risk of dying in a crash if their rear seat passengers are not wearing seatbelts. Always remind those in the vehicle to buckle up.

4. Never double-buckle. Always use a seatbelt for its intended use, and never restrain multiple passengers with one belt.

5. All unrestrained objects, including pets, are a hazard in the event of a crash. When transporting your pet, use an animal carrier and, if possible, restrain the carrier.

The fine for not wearing a seatbelt is $167, including a 15 per cent victim surcharge. If your passenger is under 16, you are responsible for ensuring that he or she is properly restrained.

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