November 24, 2016 by Canadian Underwriter
While a recent observational driver study found the average seatbelt compliance rate in rural Manitoba was 94.7%, more than 600 people were still not wearing a seatbelt, Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) reported on Thursday.
The study, conducted in October by Citizens on Patrol Program (COPP) groups in rural Manitoba, involved a total of 13 rural locations and a dozen participating COPP group, MPI said in a statement. The study is done in partnership with local RCMP detachments and conducted twice a year in the spring and fall.
The average seatbelt compliance rate from the October study was 94.7% – a decrease of 0.4% from spring 2016. Cellphone use by drivers was also observed, with 98.7% of drivers complying with the law, MPI reported in the statement.
“Drivers and passengers need to do everything they can to keep themselves and others safe on our roads,” said Manitoba Crown Services Minister Ron Schuler. “Thanks to the hard work of these volunteer citizens, we now have more information on these safety issues and can use it to raise awareness that wearing seatbelts and not driving distracted can make a real difference.”
According to MPI, a person is 35 times more likely to be killed and five times more likely to be seriously injured when not wearing a seatbelt. Every year in Manitoba, about 30% of road fatalities involve unbelted vehicle occupants, the release said.
“A 0.4 per cent decline in rural seatbelt use may not seem significant,” said Ward Keith, vice president of business development & communications and chief product officer with MPI. “But with the number of road deaths that have occurred on our provincial highways so far in 2016, and the fact that seatbelt use can literally make the difference between life and death in a serious motor vehicle collision, these observational studies are important and help to raise awareness about the simple steps that drivers and passengers can take to keep themselves safe in the event of a collision.”
Last year, COPP volunteers provided nearly 15,000 patrol hours and 23,000 hours of other volunteer service related to the program.