Police watching for unbuckled motorists in June
June 4, 2014
The traffic safety spotlight for the month of June is occupant restraints. Police across the province will be on the lookout for drivers and passengers not wearing seatbelts, as well as unrestrained or improperly restrained children. Distracted driving, impaired driving and excessive speed will also be a focus in June.
Wearing a seatbelt and having babies and toddlers restrained in the appropriate infant or car seat is the law in Saskatchewan. Effective June 27, 2014, booster seats will also become mandatory in the province. The new law will apply to children under seven years of age and less than 145 cm (4’9”) in height and 36 kg (80 lbs) in weight. Age is the clincher here - though booster seats will not be mandatory for children seven and older, SGI strongly encourages the use of the appropriate restraint device for each individual child.
“Children come in all sizes, so ensuring you have the proper fit for your child is key,” said Shannon Ell, Manager of Traffic Safety Promotion at SGI. “If your child is using a seatbelt, it’s important to make sure the seatbelt fits correctly or it can do more harm than good in a crash.”
In 2012 in Saskatchewan, there were 84 children age six and under injured and two killed while riding in a vehicle. Eighteen of the children injured were not restrained at all or were improperly restrained. In addition, 28 of the injured children were belted by a seatbelt that may have been inappropriate for the child.
To determine if the seatbelt fits your child properly, take the seatbelt stage test. If you answer no to any of the following questions, the seatbelt doesn’t fit your child correctly and your child should be in a booster seat:
- Can your child sit comfortably with his or her back against the vehicle’s seat back?
- Do your child's knees bend comfortably at the edge of the vehicle's seat?
- Is the lap portion of the seatbelt as low as possible, touching the child's thighs?
- Does the shoulder portion of the seatbelt cross the middle of the shoulder?
- Can your child stay comfortably seated like this for the whole trip?
“If the seatbelt isn’t on the boney structure of the hip and across the middle of the shoulder a number of serious injuries can occur,” said Ell. “The child could receive internal injuries from the lap portion of the belt tightening across the stomach, spinal injuries if the upper torso isn’t properly secured and head injuries if the child fliesforward and the head connects with something inside the vehicle.”
To help ensure children are travelling safely, SGI sponsors child restraint clinics throughout the province from May through September each year. Trained car seat technicians are also available by appointment at any time of year.
Visit the Traffic safety changes page for more information about the upcoming traffic law changes.
Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) is the province's self-sustaining auto insurance fund. SGI operates 21 claims centres and five salvage centres across Saskatchewan with a head office in Regina. SGI also works with a network of over 400 motor licence issuers across the province. Customers can now do some transactions online. Look for the MySGI link under Online Services on your motor licence issuer's website or SGI's website.