Seatbelts, airbags and head restraints

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Your vehicle is equipped to protect you and your passengers in the event of a collision – but make sure you buckle up!

Seatbelts

In a collision, a seatbelt keeps you in your seat. The pre-tensioners in the belt tighten upon sensing a hit and distribute the force over your shoulders, chest and hips – areas where the body can best handle an impact. When worn correctly, seatbelts reduce the chances of death in a collision by 47 per cent and the chances of serious injury by 52 per cent, according to Transport Canada.

To be effective, your seatbelt must:

  • Be snug over the shoulder and across the hips.
  • Be flat and not twisted.
  • Be kept over the shoulder and not under the arm, as this can cause serious injury in a collision.

Seatbelt penalties and fines

In Manitoba, wearing your seatbelt is a law and you can be penalized for not wearing it. We have one of the highest fines in the country ($300 and two demerits) against unbelted drivers. A driver can also be ticketed $299.65 for each passenger under the age of 18 who is not properly buckled up, either with a seat belt or in a child car seat. Passengers 18 years and over can be ticketed similarly for not buckling up.

Air bags

Air bags protect your head and upper body from injury in a collision. They are most useful in high-speed crashes, where they can prevent serious injury. Remember, though, that air bags are added protection. Seat belts protect you in every kind of crash, at any speed. Together, these two safety devices offer you the best protection in a crash.

While airbags are very safe, to prevent it from hurting you when it deploys you must do these two things:

  1. Sit at least 25 cm away from the airbag
  2. Wear your seatbelt

Never place a rear-facing child car seat in the front seat of a vehicle equipped with air bags.

Visit the Transport Canada website for information on vehicles that have been recalled due to unsafe air bags. If you have any questions about air bags, please contact our Road Safety department at 1-888-767-7640 (toll free) or 204-985-8737 in Winnipeg, or Transport Canada's Road Safety Information Centre at 1-800-333-0371.

Head restraints

Head restraints (or headrests) prevent "whiplash" injuries by stopping your head and neck from overextending in the event of a crash. A properly adjusted headrest combined with a correctly positioned seat can reduce whiplash injury to a minimum

To learn more and discover which vehicles are equipped with head restraints that provide the best protection, visit the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's website.