Morinville – It only takes a moment to fasten and unfasten, but a small segment of drivers and passengers are still not getting the message to buckle up. RCMP and Alberta Sheriffs will be focusing their attention this October on the importance of seatbelts and child restraints and issuing tickets to those who fail to comply.
Morinville RCMP Staff Sergeant Mac Richards said his detachment will be on the lookout next moth to make sure that drivers and passengers are buckled up and that children are in proper restraints.
“Locally and for the province we’re seeing a pretty good compliance with seat belts, but I guess it’s that last five or ten per cent that need that education,” Richards said. “When we look at the demographics of people that aren’t wearing seatbelts … we’re still dealing with predominantly male [drivers] between 20 and 40.”
Richards said seatbelt compliance isn’t a matter where the law has recently changed and people are unaware of the law. The Staff Sergeant said some drivers, for whatever reason, are simply choosing not to wear a seat belt.
“For some – they wear them on the highway but refuse to wear them in town,” Richards said. “Low speed collision can still have very serious results. There’s really no excuse anymore, especially with toddlers and infants.”
Richards said the fine for not wearing a seatbelt is $115 for driver, occupant or child. If a child is found not in a proper restraint, the ticket goes to the driver.
In addition to focusing on occupant restraints in October, the detachment will also be taking part in Operation Impact, a national campaign to make Canada’s roads the safest in the world.
The operation will take place over the Thanksgiving Day weekend – Oct. 8 – 11 – a time when Richards said traffic fatalities in particular and collisions in general are likely to occur.
In addition to looking for those not wearing seatbelts, Alberta’s law enforcement agencies will be on the look out for impaired drivers and aggressive drivers.
“Those are really the three things that put the motoring public at the greatest risk,” Richards said.
Operation Impact is sponsored by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) and Transport Canada and is part of Road Safety Vision 2010.