Seatbelt compliance has risen to 93% in Alberta

CALGARY — A provincial government official says seatbelt safety has clicked with most Albertans, though some are still defying the rules.

CALGARY — A provincial government official says seatbelt safety has clicked with most Albertans, though some are still defying the rules.

During a two-day blitz last week by several police services around Alberta, 454 tickets were handed out to drivers and passengers who weren’t buckled up.

The ticket carries a $115 fine.

The crackdown, which was launched by the province, also saw 69 charges laid for child safety restraint infractions.

Despite the hundreds of tickets doled out recently, Alberta Transportation officials are pleased after a survey released this month suggested that the number of people wearing their seatbelts has climbed.

The survey was done last fall and suggests that nearly 93 per cent of people are buckling up, a four per cent jump over 2007.

“Obviously, if police can find 454 people not wearing them, some people still aren’t getting it,” said Liz Owens, a spokeswoman with the province’s traffic safety office.

“As much as there is still room for improvement, our stats have increased, which is really exciting,” said Owens.

Insp. Tam Pozzobon, a spokesman for the Calgary police traffic section, said while dozens of the tickets were handed out in Calgary, she’s impressed that seatbelt use is so high.

It’s those remaining few that will be the toughest nuts to crack.

“That last seven per cent has behaviour that’s going to be tough to change,” Pozzobon said.

She credited education and safety initiatives for the rise in compliance.

Transport Canada says almost 40 per cent of drivers and passengers killed in collisions across the country were not wearing their seatbelts at the time.

Provincial officials say that in Alberta, 550 people who were killed and 5,319 who were injured in collisions over the last five years were not strapped in.