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Men less likely to wear seatbelts, more likely to die in crashes: OPP

Car seatbelt. GETTY IMAGES/Andrew J. Shearer

Men are less likely to wear seatbelts and therefore more likely to die in road crashes, Ontario Provincial Police said Tuesday.

In a five-year period, from 2011 to 2015, 332 of the people who died in collisions on OPP-patrolled roads were not wearing seatbelts. More than a third of these people were men: 261 of the victims were males and 71 were females.

“Our data suggests a strong presence of male drivers and male passengers who believe that they are at a lower risk of being involved in a collision than other people, and who do not see a need to wear a seatbelt,” OPP Commissioner JVN Hawkes said in a statement.

“This attitude works against our efforts to save lives on our roads.”

The OPP is sounding the alarm as they prepare for their spring seatbelt campaign. The data suggests males place far less importance on wearing a seat belt than females do. The provincial government is urging everyone to buckle up.

“Ontario’s roads are among the safest in North America and it is everyone’s responsibility to keep them that way,” Yasir Naqvi, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, said.

“Everyone knows that seatbelts save lives so buckle up – it only takes a moment but can make all the difference. Do your part to help the dedicated OPP officers keep our roads safe for everyone this weekend and throughout the year.”

Drivers are more at risk than passengers: More than three times as many unbuckled drivers (252) died in collisions as unbuckled passengers (80), OPP said, and they’re asking drivers to set a good example.

Children, young drivers, and young passengers may be “significantly influenced” by their parents, family members and older friends. Seeing a driver buckle up encourages all passengers to the same, OPP said.

Between 2011and 2015, nine children have died because they were not properly restrained in the vehicle.

OPP will be out on the roads over the Easter long weekend, watching for proper seatbelt use, aggressive driving, impaired driving, and distracted driving.