Mandatory seatbelt laws have been in effect for over 30 years in Alberta. Yet, there remains a small percentage of drivers and passengers who are inconsistent in their use of seatbelts or choose not to use them altogether, putting themselves and others at risk. The Alberta RCMP remind motorists that no matter how short the drive, it's important to make sure everyone is wearing their seatbelt.
"The proper use of seatbelts and child safety seats is the single most effective way to reduce injury and death in a motor vehicle collision," says Supt. Gary Graham, Officer in Charge, Alberta Integrated Traffic Services. "Research shows that seatbelts can reduce fatal and serious injury by as much as 45 – 65 per cent. The best way to protect yourself, your family and your passengers is by ensuring everyone buckles up."
According to Alberta Transportation, in 2015, individuals wearing a restraint during a collision had a lower injury rate (6.8%), compared to those who did not use restraints (22.4%). Not only does the likelihood of sustaining an injury decrease with the use of restraints, but so does the severity of the injury. Unbelted occupants are thrown around the compartment, striking other passengers and increasing the risk of serious or fatal injury to other passengers. In Alberta, the law requires that occupants must use all available seatbelts. The driver is responsible to ensure that all passengers under the age of sixteen (16) are properly secured using either a seatbelt or child safety seat. All children under the age of six and whose weight does not exceed 18 kg (40 lbs) must be properly restrained in a child safety seat appropriate for their age and weight. Safety experts and best practices recommend that children who have outgrown their child safety seat, use a booster seat until they reach the maximum weight or height limit of that seat, as stated by the manufacturer.
From January to October 2017, Integrated Traffic Units issued 12,720 tickets to drivers and passengers in Alberta RCMP jurisdictions for seatbelt and occupant restraint violations.
Integrated Traffic Units consists of RCMP and Alberta Traffics Sheriffs working together in a collaborative effort to deliver effective and efficient traffic safety services to Albertans, with a focus on identified enforcement priorities.