RCMP surveys of seatbelt use in rural Manitoba show a percentage aren’t bothering to buckle up.
Visual surveys done by police officers in unmarked cars find as many as one in three rural residents in some locations fail to fasten their seatbelts.
Survey numbers show where 92 per cent of motor vehicle occupants were wearing seatbelts in Portage la Prairie, just 66.1 per cent wore them in Powerview and Pine Falls. Fisher Branch (67.5 per cent) and Arborg (71.4) showed a lowered rate of seatbelt use compared to Selkirk at 90.2 per cent and Oak Bluff at 91.4 per cent.
The surveys were done of both motor vehicle occupants in town as well as on surrounding roadways.
RCMP Constable Miles Hiebert said the issue is complacency.
“The thinking is you’re only going a couple of miles down the road or just around town,” he said. “But there’s no reason not to wear your seatbelt.”
Too many people die or suffer permanent injuries just because a seatbelt was not worn, he said. The surveys will aid RCMP in carrying out enforcement activities, he added.
RCMP remind Manitobans that wearing a seatbelt is required by both driver and passengers and that drivers are responsible for the proper restraint of all passengers under 18. Manitoba has the highest fine in the country for not wearing a seatbelt: $292.65.