Island Lake First Nation wins SGI Seatbelt Challenge
November 17, 2010
Residents of Island Lake First Nation more than doubled their seatbelt use in SGI's 2010 Seatbelt Challenge, and will see two safety benefits as a result.
In addition to increasing their own safety by buckling up, Island Lake First Nation won up to $50,000 for traffic safety improvements in their community.
The 2010 Seatbelt Challenge in the Meadow Lake Tribal Council challenged the First Nations communities of Island Lake, Flying Dust, Buffalo River, Canoe Lake, English River and Birch Narrows to buckle up in an effort to see which community could most improve its seatbelt use.
"A friendly competition like this is a good way to keep seatbelt use top of mind," said SGI Manager of Traffic Safety Promotion Shannon Ell. "We know seatbelts save lives and cut the risk of death or injury in half, but there are still far too many people who aren't buckling up, particularly in First Nations and rural communities."
In 2009 alone, 74 per cent of fatalities on rural roads and 100 per cent of fatalities on First Nations roads in Saskatchewan involved unbelted occupants, compared to 27 per cent on urban streets.
To measure seatbelt use, two roadside surveys were conducted in each community - one before the challenge kicked off in April and the other after the challenge ended in September. The results were then used to determine the community that had the highest percentage gain in usage between surveys.
Island Lake First Nation increased its seatbelt use by an incredible 96 per cent - more than double its previous usage rate. Close on its heels was Flying Dust First Nation, which increased its use by an impressive 79 per cent.
"These communities really got behind the challenge and their dedication paid off because all but one community saw an increase in seatbelt use," said Ell. "That makes the Seatbelt Challenge a true success."
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 Tribal Council also competed in the 2010 Seatbelt Challenge.
The Seatbelt Challenge has been held for the past three years. Last year, communities from the Saskatoon Health Region and File Hills Qu'Appelle Tribal Council participated, all increasing their seatbelt usage. In 2008, participating communities from the Heartland and Prairie North Health Regions also saw increases in seatbelt use.