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Registry of Motor Vehicles - Seat Belts Save Lives

Your Responsibility

Seat belts are important personal protection equipment. Like hard hats, safety glasses, and hard toe shoes in industry, seat belts help to decrease the severity of accidental injury or to prevent injury when crashes occur.

Everyone, 16 years of age and older, driver or passenger, riding in a motor vehicle in Nova Scotia is required to wear a seat belt, if a seating position with a seat belt is available to them.

The driver is responsible for ensuring that a passenger under 16 years of age is wearing a seat belt if a seating position is available to them. Young children must be in approved "child restraint system" car seats suitable for their age, height, or weight.

If a vehicle came equipped with seat belts, they must be maintained in good working order and not altered in any way to reduce their effectiveness.

Functions of Seat Belts

COLLISIONS: Seat belts keep drivers and passengers from being ejected through windows or doors. This is important because your chances of being killed are five times greater if you are thrown from the vehicle.

MINOR CRASHES: Drivers and passengers wearing seat belts are protected from possible injury if caught unaware by a sudden stop. The driver must be secured behind the wheel to control the car. A crash or sudden stop could throw a passenger from the back seat to the front, disrupting the driver.

BURNING OR SUBMISSION: Fewer than 1 per cent of all injury-producing accidents involve fire or submersion. Even in such cases, the chances of remaining conscious in order to free youeself and escape from the vehicle are greatly increased if you are wearing a seat belt.

BELT BREAKAGE: Most belts will not break. However, in a severe crash, if a belt breaks, it has already done its job. You will land with a ton and a half less force.

  People Excluded from Wearing Seat Belts

The wearing of seat belts does not apply to the following:

1. a person who is unable to wear a seat belt or child restraint system because of their size, build, or other physical characteristic;
2. a person who, in the opinion of a legally qualified medical practitioner, is unable to wear a seat belt or child restraint system for medical reasons;
3. an on-duty peace officer;
4. a fireman while in or on a vehicle of a firefighting organization;
5. a driver operating a taxicab for hire, in respect of the use of a seat belt by the driver or a passenger;
6. a driver operating a public transit bus;
7. a medical attendant in an ambulance transporting a patient;
8. a person while engaged in work that entails leaving and entering the vehicle at frequent intervals;
9. the driver and passengers of a motor vehicle transporting prisoners.

The proper use of seat belts prevents traffic fatalities and reduces injuries.

Proper Adjustment of Belts

Shoulder belts should never be worn without a regular lap belt. Seat belts should be worn and properly adjusted as described in the owner's manual for the vehicle.

Air Bags

Many new cars are equipped with air bags. Air bags give additional protection from serious injury in head-on type collisions where the driver and front seat passengers may strike the steering wheel, dashboard, or windshield. Air bags do not replace seat belts.

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