News

No seatbelts a factor in almost 40% of road deaths

The Valley Leader

Manitoba Public Insurance says nearly 40 per cent of drivers and passengers killed this year in public roadway crashes were not using a seatbelt at the time of the crash, according to preliminary fatality data.

After recently reporting that February 2018 was the second worst February for road deaths in two decades with nine lives lost, updated data from Manitoba’s public auto insurer reveals a further five fatalities in crashes on public roads in March. This brings the number of Manitobans killed in motor vehicle crashes for the first three months of 2018 to 18 – a number about 80 per cent higher than average over the last five years during the same time frame.

Further analysis reveals that of the 13 drivers and passengers killed in fatal crashes so far this year, nearly 40 per cent were not using a seatbelt at the time of the crash.

“While the vast majority of Manitobans wear their seatbelts all the time, these results serve as a strong reminder that failing to buckle up can have tragic consequences,” said Ward Keith, vice-president, Business Development and Communications, CAO, Manitoba Public Insurance in a statement.

“A properly fastened seatbelt works in conjunction with a vehicle’s airbag system to keep occupants safe, particularly when crashes involve loss of vehicle control or vehicle rollovers.”

In efforts to raise awareness about seatbelt safety, Manitoba Public Insurance and its police partners hosted a media event today where a crash victim from Niverville told an audience of high school students how she survived a single-vehicle rollover because she was belted in. The woman’s baby was also in the vehicle. The baby was safely buckled into its child car seat and was uninjured in the crash.

Vehicles damaged in rollover collisions pulled from the Manitoba Public Insurance vehicle damage compound, served as a backdrop for the event, which also involved a tour of the compound to view other severely damaged vehicles for the high school students in attendance.

“Testimonials of this nature drive home the importance of wearing seatbelts and safely protecting children in approved child restraint systems when riding in vehicles,” said Keith. “These are real-life examples of how tragedies can be avoided. Sharing these stories is one way we are working with Manitobans to change the conversation about traffic safety, and create a culture where even one fatality or serious injury is considered one too many.”

Seatbelt Facts:

· People who don’t use vehicle safety equipment properly are 35 to 40 times more likely to be killed when involved in a crash.

· When buckling up, make sure the seatbelt’s shoulder strap crosses over the shoulder and the lap belt is positioned across the hips. For seatbelts to work properly they should lay flat against the body.

· Become a road safety advocate. As a driver, take responsibility for ensuring all of your passengers are wearing their seatbelts, regardless where they are sitting in the vehicle. This includes ensuring children are properly secured in child cars seats or booster seats.

· Don’t assume short trips are less dangerous. Most collisions occur within short distances from home. Wear your seatbelt all the time – no exceptions.

· Avoid a costly penalty. If caught not wearing a seatbelt in Manitoba, you will be fined $298 and the infraction will move you down two levels on your Driver Safety Rating scale.