OPP Launch Seat Belt Blitz

Seat belt-related road deaths may be at their lowest point in 20 years, but police are still pushing the message to buckle up.

OPP Sergeant Dave Rektor says compliance in the province is between 85% and 90%, but it's important to keep hammering home the message to get the remaining 10% to 15% on board.

Drivers are reminded to properly adjust and fasten their seat belt, also ensure any children are secured in a child car seat or booster seat.

Rektor says many of the excuses officers hear for not wearing a seat belt is that the driver doesn't have far to go -- but he stresses even low-speed accidents can have serious consequences. "A lot of the collisions that involve serious injury happen at low-impact speeds," says Rektor. 'Falling from the roof of a three storey building and the impact with the ground is the equivalent of what it's like to be involved in a crash at city speeds — at 50km/h."

Rektor says wearing a seat belt makes it easier for you to be a better driver, and keep the roads safe, if you need to avoid an oncoming car. "The problem is they tend to overreact and when you overreact, you're thrown around in that vehicle. However, if you are restrained by your seat belt, when you take an aggressive action your seat belt locks you into position, holds you safely and securely behind the wheel of the car so you can continue to steer out of that situation that you're in."

OPP report there were 45 seat belt-related road deaths in 2016 — the lowest number in 20 years.

In 1997, OPP recorded 168 seat belt-related deaths.

Fines for not wearing a seat belt can range between $200 and $1,000.