Thirty percent of Manitoba road deaths linked to not wearing a seatbelt: MPI

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March 16, 2011 – While Transport Canada�s most recent study on seatbelt use reported more Manitobans are buckling up, an alarming number of people in the province continue to be killed because they fail to use their seatbelt.

On average, 31 people are killed yearly in Manitoba because they did not use their seatbelt, according to police reported data which encompassed the years 2005 to 2009. In total, 156 people were killed and another 325 seriously injured over the five-year span.

In September 2009, Transport Canada conducted an observational survey of seat belt use in rural communities across Canada. Then, in September 2010, the same survey was conducted in urban communities. The two observational surveys involved 97,117 vehicles and 129,371 occupants across 538 sites.

The study reported that Manitoba has an overall seatbelt usage rate of 93.8 – a sixth-place ranking in Canada. British Columbia, at 96.9, has the highest seatbelt usage rate in Canada. Yukon has the worst at 78.1.

“It was encouraging to see that Manitoba showed improvement, but the true statistics report that too many people are still not buckling up and getting killed in crashes,” said Ted Hlynsky, Vice-President, Claims Control & Safety Operations, Manitoba Public Insurance.

“Manitoba data clearly shows that people who fail to use their seatbelt significantly increase their risk to being killed or seriously injured if they are involved in a collision, particularly on highways where speeds are higher.”

In efforts to raise awareness about the importance of buckling up, Manitoba�s police agencies will be conducting dedicated, seatbelt enforcement campaigns during the month of March. The ticket for not wearing a seatbelt is $292.65, in addition to dropping two levels in Manitoba Public Insurance�s Driver Safety Rating.

“As technologically advanced as the new vehicles have become over the years, not wearing a seatbelt still increases your chances of being killed or injured in a crash,” said Hlynsky. “In fact, according to police-reported data from Manitoba, you are nearly 14 times more likely to be killed and five times more likely to be seriously injured when not wearing a seatbelt.”

According to Transport Canada�s study, there was a wearing rate of 94.5 percent in urban Manitoba communities (2010) and 90.7 percent in rural communities (2009) for a combined rate of 93.8 percent. This is an improvement from the last study conducted in 2006 (rural) and 2007 (urban) which reported Manitoba�s usage rate at 86.9 and 89.7 percent, respectively.

Highlites of the Transport Canada Observational Study

  • Throughout Canada, seatbelt wearing rates in pick-up trucks are lower than passenger cars, mini vans and SUV�s.
  • Males buckle up less than females.
  • Back seat occupants don�t use their seatbelt as much as front-seat occupants.

“It�s not uncommon for occupants of a vehicle to be thrown out of the passenger compartment if they are not buckled up and become involved in a crash,” said Hlynsky. “This ejection can result in the person being rolled on by the vehicle, or flying out and hitting an object.

“Staying within the vehicle clearly increases your chance of survival.”

Manitobans interested in seeing the most recent Transport Canada study can do so by going to Transport Canada�s link www.tc.gc.ca.

About Manitoba Public Insurance

Manitoba Public Insurance is a non-profit Crown Corporation that has provided basic automobile coverage since 1971. Our services are available throughout Manitoba in claim centres and Customer Service centres. www.mpi.mb.ca