BELLEVILLE – Loyalist College student Mathieu Leduc, 21, says that he would not be alive today if it weren’t for his seatbelt.
“I turned the corner onto Moira Street in Belleville, and it was raining, my car went into the other lane and before I could get back into my lane this lady came around the bend and we collided,” recalled Leduc.
“If I wasn’t wearing my seatbelt I would’ve been projected out of the windshield, I know that for sure,” he said.
According to an Ontario Provincial Police  report, in the last five years 332 people have died in collisions on OPP patrolled roads as a result of not wearing a seatbelt. Out of all 332 victims, 261 of them were males and 71 were females.
Within the same five years, nine children have died because they were not properly restrained in the vehicle.
Leduc walked away with abdominal bruising. He added that although the seatbelt can cause injuries the outcome could always be worse.
“I’d rather have a broken collarbone than be dead,” said Leduc.
The seatbelt law was put in place in Ontario in 1976, but yet some people still avoid such a simple task.
The OPP looks to drivers to set a positive example for their passengers – especially children, young drivers and young passengers. OPP believe the decision to wear a seatbelt may be significantly influenced by the attitudes of their family and friends.
Central Hastings OPP Const. Alana Deubel says seatbelt safety is important because it is proven to save lives.
“We’d rather be taking a statement from you just about what happened and not be transferring you to hospital,” she said.
Deubel says that if there are people out there who don’t think it matters, there are people that care for them that do.
“It’s easier to deal with repairs on a car than to deal with the loss of a loved one,” she added.
Unfortunately, Picton native Devon Mayer, 23, is someone who had to deal with the loss of a close friend this past year because of his failure to wear a seatbelt.
“He was out one night and he was on his way home – it was just before Christmas – and they took a corner too fast and lost control of the car. When they hit the ditch he was ejected from the car,” he said.
Mayer believes if his friend had been wearing a seatbelt he would still be here today.
However there are still some people who don’t always buckle up.
“I know it’s a weird habit but when I’m in the passenger seat you’ll never see a seatbelt on me, but when I’m behind the wheel I’ll always have it on. When I’m in the car I trust the driver enough to not wear my seatbelt, ” said a former Loyalist College student who didn’t want her name used.
Seatbelt infractions can lead to a $240 fine and two demerit points.