Seatbelts A Simple Way To Save Lives

By Ron Fanfair, Toronto Police Service Published: 3:13 p.m. October 1, 2015

If you are ever looking for evidence of what the result of wearing a seatbelt improperly or not wearing any at all can lead to, look no further than Sarah Ginn.

A hand buckles a seatbelt
Buckling up is a simple way to stay safe in your travels

In January 2003, she chose to ride in a vehicle, with an unbelted passenger, on the way to her boyfriend’s cottage. The vehicle was involved in a collision on Highway 35 and the force of the impact projected the unbelted passenger behind her, causing Ginn to slam into the dashboard and windshield.

Ginn, who was in a coma for six weeks and spent three months at Sunnybrook, has permanent vertigo and is legally blind.

She speaks regularly to students and other groups about traffic safety and the importance of wearing seatbelts.  

“I can no longer drive for the rest of my life, I can’t smell, I can’t taste, I have vertigo at random and I have had over 18 surgeries on my body,” Ginn said, at the Ministry of Transportation fall provincial seatbelt campaign launch on October 1 at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. “…Everybody in a car should wear a seatbelt and it should be worn properly.”

Toronto Police Service Superintendent Gord Jones, the co-chair of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Committee, said that there should be no second thought when it comes to wearing a seatbelt and making sure that all vehicle occupants are restrained.

“In this day and age of advanced technology and smart vehicles, the most effective way to minimize the impact of the consequences of those events is through simpler and effective use of a seatbelt,” he said. “It’s estimated that with each one per cent increase in compliance, five lives are saved across the province. 

“…Proper use of seatbelts is one of the most effective ways to prevent serious injuries or death if you are involved in a motor vehicle collision.”

Three men in TPS uniform with a woman holding a mobility cane
Traffic Services Constable Clint Stibbe, Superintendent Gord Jones and Constable Keith Ingram with Sarah Ginn

October 1, this year, marks the 10th anniversary of the introduction of the booster seat law.

“Booster seats prevent devastating injuries,” said Dr. Andrew Howard, an orthopedic surgeon at The Hospital for Sick Children. “Booster seats prevent children from getting disabling injuries to the spine, internal organs, spinal cord and the brain. Booster seats also save lives.”

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