Saskatchewan places monthly spotlight on drivers not wearing seatbelts

Published: February 1, 2019

Updated: February 28, 2019

Author: Luke Jones

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Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) has announced its monthly traffic spotlight. During February, police in Saskatchewan will be looking for motorists not wearing their seatbelts. SGI warns that offending drivers could end up paying higher auto insurance rates.

During 2018, 4,700 tickets were issued to drivers in the province for not wearing a seatbelt. SGI says the number is too high and motorists should know the risk. Efforts are not working, so a month-long spotlight is pushing drivers to buckle up.

“We’re asking this month, what’s it going to take to make it click?” Tyler McMurchy, spokesman for SGI, told 620 CKRM. “We know most people do wear their seatbelts, the vast majority of people do [with] some estimates having it at over 95%. But the small number that don’t are highly over represented in traffic deaths.”

McMurchy was quick to point out offending drivers face financial penalties. Not wearing a seatbelt in a car in Saskatchewan results in a fine of $175 for each person in the vehicle without a seatbelt, while the driver is also docked three demerit points.

Whenever a driver receives demerit points, they are closer to having to pay more for auto insurance. McMurchy explains that drivers should be aware they must ensure all passengers are buckled up.

“If you are the driver of the vehicle, you are responsible for every passenger you have under the age of 16,” McMurchy told 620 CKRM. “So, if you’re not wearing your seatbelt and you have a 14-year-old kid in the car and they aren’t wearing their seatbelt, that’s two separate tickets and three points under the safe driver recognition program.”

NL Problems

Saskatchewan is certainly not the only Canadian province facing problems with drivers not wearing seatbelts. Last July, Newfoundland and Labrador reported a third of road-related fatalities involved the lack of seatbelt use.

RCMP shows from 2013 until July of this year, 182 people died on roads in NL from 154 collisions. Of those fatalities, around 35 per cent were not wearing their belt.