For most, putting on a seatbelt is like breathing or brushing your teeth, you just do it and don't even think about it. But for others, it's a very different philosophy.
Last year in the province over 4,700 tickets were issued by police for not wearing a seatbelt while in a motor vehicle. This has led to SGI's Traffic Safety Spotlight in February focusing on getting everyone to wear seatbelts and doing whatever they can to 'Make It Click' for everyone.
"It does seem odd, it seems weird, it seems mind-boggling that there are this many people still not wearing seatbelts," said Tyler McMurchy, the Communications Director for SGI. "We know that most people do wear seatbelts. One study found more than 95 percent of front seat occupants in Saskatchewan were observed wearing their seatbelts. But it's the small number who don't that are highly overrepresented in our fatality statistics."
"In 2017, non-seatbelt use, or improper seatbelt use, was a factor in 16 deaths and another 148 injuries. It doesn't make sense to anyone that you wouldn't take that one quick, easy way to substantially reduce your chance of death or injury in a crash, and that's by making it click."
SGI has used campaigns such as 'Buckle Up' before, but now for the month of February, they're going with a new saying.
"When we looked at the numbers of people who month in, month out are still getting seatbelt tickets and the fact that 300 to 500 people are getting a seatbelt ticket every single month. We just said, 'what's it going to take to make it click with those people?'," McMurchy explained. "Chances are they've been told and heard in the past that seatbelts improve your safety. Seatbelts save lives — there's just no question, the evidence is overwhelming. You're more than 17 times more likely to be ejected in a collision if you're not wearing your seat belt. If you are ejected from the vehicle, you're three times more likely to be killed as a result."
Studies have proven time and time again how beneficial seatbelts are for the safety of yourself and everyone else in the vehicle with you. If the safety aspect doesn't get through to people, maybe the penalties will. A seatbelt ticket in 2019 will cost you $175 and three demerit points on your license.
"Depending on where you sit on the safety scale there might be additional financial penalties or loss of insurance discounts as well," McMurchy noted.
Along with seatbelt safety in February, SGI is also focusing on car seats and the proper use of those.
Any children under 40 pounds need to have a five-point harness car seat. For children under 7 years of age and under 80 pounds, they need to be in a booster seat. McMurchy says it can all be overwhelming for new parents, but SGI has programs to help.
"Car seats can be a little confusing when you have a new baby," he said. "There are car seat clinics that happen throughout the province throughout the year. There are also car seat technicians throughout the province and you can make an appointment with any one of these folks free of charge and they will make sure you have your car seat installed correctly. It's a really great option for parents."
Safety is the number one priority on the road and hopefully, SGI can make it click for those still putting themselves and others in danger by not wearing a seatbelt.