Whitewood wins SGI Seatbelt Challenge
November 17, 2011
Residents of Whitewood know seatbelts save lives, and now their dedication to buckling up is paying off.
As the winner of SGI’s 2011 Seatbelt Challenge, Whitewood will receive up to $50,000 for traffic safety improvements in their community.
The Seatbelt Challenge saw Grenfell, Kipling and Whitewood engaged in a friendly competition to see which community could most improve its seatbelt use.
“Unfortunately, seatbelt use is lower in rural and First Nation communities,” said Shannon Ell, Manager of Traffic Safety Promotion at SGI. “The Seatbelt Challenge helps get the message out that wearing a seatbelt every time you get into a vehicle cuts your risk of being killed or injured in a crash in half.”
In 2010, 50 per cent of fatalities on rural roads and 62.5 per cent of fatalities on First Nation roads in Saskatchewan involved unbelted occupants, compared to 16.5 per cent on urban streets.
To measure seatbelt use, two roadside surveys were conducted in each community - one before the challenge kicked off in June to establish a baseline and the other after the challenge ended in September. The results determined the community that had the greatest percentage of gain towards the goal of 100 per cent seatbelt use. Whitewood covered 73 per cent of their available gain, bringing their seatbelt use rate from 74 per cent pre-challenge to 93 per cent post-challenge.
“All three communities are winners in the Seatbelt Challenge, since they each saw an increase in seatbelt use and that means increased safety for everyone on the road,” said Ell.
In addition to the grand prize of up to $50,000 for the winning community, smaller rewards were handed out throughout the challenge to people spotted wearing their seatbelt.
Cote First Nation, Fishing Lake First Nation and Keeseekoose First Nation also participated in a Seatbelt Challenge this year, where Keeseekoose was declared the winner.
About the SGI Seatbelt Challenge
The SGI Seatbelt Challenge is a ongoing community-driven project designed to improve seatbelt use in rural Saskatchewan. The challenge encourages people to buckle up by offering rewards to those spotted wearing their seatbelt. SGI partners with First Nations, municipalities, law enforcement agencies, fire departments, emergency medical service providers and student organizations in participating communities to conduct the challenge. Currently in its fourth year, all but two of the 37 participating communities have seen an increase in seatbelt use during the challenge.
Manager of Media Relations
Saskatchewan Government Insurance