by Morinville News Staff
Edmonton – The Government of Alberta is asking Albertans to join the 95 per cent of people already wearing seatbelts. The province has seen a 26 per cent increase over the past 15 years, rising from 60 per cent compliance in 1999 to 95 per cent currently. It is a trend the government wants to see continue.
“There is no doubt that seatbelts save lives, so we’re encouraging that last five per cent to join us all in making our roads safer for everyone,” said Wayne Drysdale, Alberta’s Minister of Transportation in a press release Monday.
While the government is pleased with the increase in people wearing seatbelts, their statistics indicate young men between the ages of 18 and 24 are least likely to buckle up of any demographic group. They cite provincial statistics from 2007 to 2012 that show there were 532 fatalities in Alberta where the driver or occupant was not wearing seat belts. Of that number, 106 unbelted fatalities were men between the ages of 18-24.
“About 45 per cent of the fatal collisions we go to involve an unbelted occupant,” said Superintendent Howard Eaton, Officer in Charge “K” Division Traffic Services in Monday’s release. “Too often it’s a single vehicle roll-over on a rural road with an unbelted young male driver. We need to get this last five per cent to buckle up so that everyone gets home safely.”
The seatbelt buzz comes 10 days into March, a month designated in the Alberta Traffic Safety Plan Calendar as one that targets occupant restraints. February’s focus was on distracted driving, and the month of April will see RCMP, Alberta Sheriffs and Community Peace Officers focusing on speeding. The province and the Alberta Occupant Restraint Program jointly developed the current seatbelt campaign, which is also encouraging the use vehicle booster seats for children under nine who weigh less than 80 pounds.