Click it or ticket
Saskatchewan police focus on occupant restraints in March
March 3, 2015
CRUNCH! It was a moment - and a sound - Eugene Brown of Arcola, Saskatchewan, will never forget.
Brown and two of his sons, Eric and Quinn were driving north on the Ring Road in Regina when a south-bound vehicle went under an underpass, lost control and crossed over the median, crashing into the half-ton Brown was driving.
“It was just after Christmas two years ago, and the roads were as slick as a curling rink,” said Brown. “I yelled for someone to call 911 while my sons and I tended to the couple that had just hit us.”
Brown and his sons were fortunate to be wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash. That wasn’t always the case with Brown. Growing up in rural Saskatchewan, Brown never wore his seatbelt, unless traveling in the city or on the highway. Thankfully, it was a case of “do as I say, not as I do,” because although he didn’t buckle up every time, he made sure his kids always did. Now grown, they still wear their seatbelts all the time. And since the crash, Brown never drives without one.
“At the rate we crashed, we would have gone through the windshield if we weren’t wearing seatbelts. It was a hard lesson to learn; it rattled me,” said Brown.
Seatbelts save lives. They can decrease the chances of sustaining a serious injury in a traffic crash by as much as fifty per cent. That’s why seatbelt and car seat use is the traffic safety spotlight for March. Police will be looking for people not wearing their seatbelt, wearing them improperly, or not having child passengers properly restrained in the vehicle.
In 2013, improper or non-seatbelt use contributed to a total of 27 deaths and 204 injuries in the province. Ninety-one of those injuries and three of those deaths were children under the age of seven. Seven of the children injured were not restrained at all or were improperly restrained. In addition, 29 of the injured children were belted by a seatbelt that may have been inappropriate (e.g., child too small for the seatbelt).
Effective June 27, 2014, booster seats became mandatory for children under seven years of age, less than 145 cm (4’9”) in height and 36 kg (80 lb.) in weight. Drivers convicted of not wearing a seatbelt, or not properly restraining child passengers will receive a $175 fine and three demerits on SGI’s Safe Driver Recognition program. Depending where drivers sit on the safety scale, they may also have to pay a financial penalty or lose insurance discounts.
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 nearly 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.