Alberta’s Traffic Safety Act: Vehicle Equipment Regulations Part 5 and the federal Motor Vehicle Safety Act contain regulations that describe the law as it pertains to occupant restraints (seat belts, child safety seats), as well as the fines associated with non-compliance.
In Alberta, the law requires all occupants traveling in a vehicle to wear a seat belt, and it is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that all passengers under the age of 16 years are properly restrained in the vehicle. If passengers are not properly restrained, the driver may receive a seat belt fine. Seat belts must be worn correctly, using the complete seat belt assembly, which means the lap belt is across the top of the hips and the shoulder belt goes across the chest. Shoulder belts cannot be behind occupant’s backs or underneath arms. The fine for not wearing a seat belt is $115.
The driver is responsible for ensuring children who weigh less than 18 kg (40 lbs) are properly restrained in an approved child safety seat that has been correctly installed.
As well, the Act specifies that you shall not remove a seat belt assembly, or render it partly or wholly inoperative. You are also not permitted by law to reduce the effectiveness of a seat belt assembly if the motor vehicle was equipped with the seat belt assembly at the time it was manufactured.
Both the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Act and the Provincial Traffic Safety Act outline regulations for seat belt use.
Child Safety Seats
According to Alberta law, any child who is under the age of six years and whose weight does not exceed 18 kg (40 lbs) must be properly restrained in a child safety seat according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The child safety seat must be installed in the vehicle according to both the vehicle manufacturer’s and child safety seat manufacturer’s instructions. Child safety seats used in Canada must have a label on them stating that the seat meets Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213. The fine for not using a child safety seat is $115.
There is no current law in Alberta that mandates the use of booster seats. However, the Government of Alberta safety experts and best practices recommends that once a child graduates from a child safety seat, that the child be in a booster seat until they turn nine years of age or reach a weight of 37 kg (80 lbs). Booster Seats help position the seat belt properly on a child’s body. The shoulder belt should lie across the middle of the child’s chest and the lap portion of the belt should touch the hips.