Too many people still not using seatbelts: Manitoba Public Insurance

More than 600 people were not wearing a seatbelt during an observational driver study conducted this October by Citizens on Patrol Program (COPP) groups in rural Manitoba.

A total of 13 rural locations were selected with a dozen COPP groups participating. The study is done in partnership with local RCMP detachments and conducted twice a year in the spring and fall.

The average seatbelt compliance rate from the October study was 94.7 per cent – a decrease of 0.4 per cent from spring 2016. Cellphone use by drivers was also observed, with 98.7 per cent of drivers complying with the law.

“Drivers and passengers need to do everything they can to keep themselves and others safe on our roads,” said Crown Services Minister Ron Schuler. “Thanks to the hard work of these volunteer citizens, we now have more information on these safety issues and can use it to raise awareness that wearing seatbelts and not driving distracted can make a real difference.”

A person is 35 times more likely to be killed and five times more likely to be seriously injured when not wearing a seatbelt. Every year in Manitoba, about 30 per cent of road fatalities involve unbelted vehicle occupants.

“A 0.4 per cent decline in rural seatbelt use may not seem significant but with the number of road deaths that have occurred on our provincial highways so far in 2016, and the fact that seat belt use can literally make the difference between life and death in a serious motor vehicle collision, these observational studies are important and help to raise awareness about the simple steps that drivers and passengers can take to keep themselves safe in the event of a collision,” said Ward Keith, vice-president, Business Development & Communications and chief product officer, Manitoba Public Insurance.

“The message here is so simple; wear your seat belt all the time, no matter how long or short your trip is. And for drivers, make sure all of your passengers are buckled up and children are properly secured in child restraint seats before you take your vehicle out of park,” said Keith.

Studies like these are just one example of the important work conducted by COPP groups throughout Manitoba in cooperation with local law enforcement. COPP members volunteer their time to make their communities safer by patrolling, deterring crime, and making our roads safer. Last year, COPP volunteers provided nearly 15,000 patrol hours and 23,000 hours of other volunteer service related to the program.

About COPP

This year marked the 25th anniversary of COPP. It’s a grassroots program specifically designed to serve as a highly-visible crime deterrent.

If someone is interested in joining a COPP group or starting one in their community, training and equipment are provided at no charge. Prior to participating in COPP patrols, all new members receive training delivered by one of COPP’s certified instructors, as well as a training manual. In addition, new members are provided with one-on-one supervision with an experienced member during their first patrols.

More information can be obtained by calling the provincial coordinator at 204-985-8849 or toll-free at 1-866-326-7792, or visiting

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