Muscowpetung First Nation prevails in SGI's Seatbelt Challenge
November 20, 2009
The residents of Muscowpetung First Nation have increased their own safety by buckling up, and now their community will get a safety boost as well.
Muscowpetung First Nation has won SGI's 2009 Seatbelt Challenge and will receive up to $50,000 for traffic safety improvements in its community.
The 2009 Aboriginal Seatbelt Challenge in the File Hills Qu'Appelle Tribal Council pitted the First Nations communities of Muscowpetung, Carry the Kettle, Little Black Bear, Nekaneet, Pasqua, Peepeekisis, Standing Buffalo and Star Blanket against each other in a friendly competition to see which community could most improve its seatbelt use.
"This is a fun way to encourage people to buckle up, but we don't want participants or the public to lose sight of the seriousness of this problem, particularly in First Nations and rural communities," Minister responsible for SGI June Draude said.
In 2008 alone, 58 per cent of fatalities on rural roads and 67 per cent of fatalities on First Nations roads involved unbelted occupants. In other years as much as 100 per cent of fatalities on First Nations roads involved unbelted occupants.
"Reducing these numbers by increasing the use of seatbelts and child occupant restraints is a key component of SGI's comprehensive traffic safety strategy," Draude said. "Seatbelts save lives and cut the risk of death or injury in half."
Two roadside surveys - the first in May and the second in September - were conducted in each community to measure its respective seatbelt use. The results were then used to determine the community that had the highest percentage gain in usage between surveys.
Muscowpetung First Nation increased its seatbelt use by an incredible 132 per cent - more than double its previous usage rate. Carry the Kettle First Nation, the second place finisher, increased its use by 90 per cent.
The results from the other participating communities were as follows:
- Pasqua - 88 per cent increase
- Standing Buffalo - 75 per cent increase
- Peepeekisis - 72 per cent increase
- Nekaneet - 34 per cent increase
- Little Black Bear - 21 per cent increase
- Star Blanket - 46 per cent increase
"It's absolutely wonderful to see that every single community increased its seatbelt use," Draude said. "That's the true success of the Seatbelt Challenge."
In addition to the grand prize for the winning community, smaller rewards were handed out throughout the challenge to people spotted wearing their seatbelt.
The Seatbelt Challenge is a community-driven project designed to improve seatbelt use in rural Saskatchewan. SGI partners with health regions, First Nations, municipalities, law enforcement agencies, fire departments, emergency medical service providers and student organizations in participating communities to conduct the challenge.
Communities from the Saskatoon Health Region also competed in the 2009 Seatbelt Challenge.
This is the second year that the Seatbelt Challenge has been held. Last year communities from the Heartland Health Region and Prairie North Health Region participated, all increasing their seatbelt use.