SGI frustrated with lack of seatbelt use

By Glenn Hicks
February 1, 2018 - 10:00am

If you think wearing a seatbelt is uncomfortable, try flying through a windshield.

That’s the brutally frank statement from an SGI spokesman ahead of their Traffic Safety Spotlight for February, which will focus on occupant safety including seatbelt and appropriate child seat use.

With a degree of disbelief Tyler McMurchy said some people actually prefer not to wear a seatbelt because it’s 'uncomfortable.'

“Well, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that flying through a windshield head first is really, really uncomfortable,” he said.

This is the sort of straight talk SGI is using as they highlight the extraordinary statistics about non-compliance.

SGI reports more than 3,700 offences for failing to wear a seatbelt in Saskatchewan in 2017 in spite of the province’s now 40 year old laws. That has prompted the Crown corporation to ask: “Seriously. How is this still a thing?”

McMurchy said other false excuses or reasoning for not wearing a seatbelt included feeling safer if thrown from a vehicle rather than being trapped in it, and thinking you can brace yourself in a crash situation.

“No you can’t,” said McMurchy. “A 70 kilogram person travelling at 50 kilometres an hour, when they come to a sudden stop that’s the equivalent of a 1,400 kilogram projectile. It’s like falling out of a four storey building.” He added when you’re not properly buckled up you become a life-threatening object for others in the vehicle if there is a crash.

SGI does not have specific numbers on non-seatbelt compliance, although McMurchy said there may be a slight increase in the rate in rural areas over urban ones purely based on per capita vehicle usage. But he said there was nothing in the stats to highlight any trends either geographically or demographically. The key message is all about the number of deaths linked to non-seatbelt use.

“Say 90 to 93 per cent of people wear their seatbelts, which is the best estimate, [but] 25 per cent of vehicle occupants who were killed last year were not wearing seatbelts. That’s a disproportionate over-representation of non-seatbelt wearers in fatalities.”


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