News Release - May 6, 2009
SGI SEATBELT CHALLENGE RETURNS TO RURAL SASKATCHEWAN
In an effort to improve seatbelt use in rural Saskatchewan, SGI is challenging communities in the Saskatoon Health Region and File Hills Qu'Appelle Tribal Council to buckle up.
The SGI Seatbelt Challenge encourages people to buckle up by holding public awareness activities such as offering rewards to individuals spotted wearing their seatbelts, engaging community members to conduct seatbelt-related activities, distributing posters and co-ordinating enforcement activities.
Two roadside surveys measuring seatbelt usage rates will take place in each participating community. The community in each region with the highest percentage of positive change between surveys will earn up to $50,000 to be used for local road safety improvements.
In 2008, 58 per cent of fatalities on rural roads and 67 per cent of fatalities on First Nations roads involved unbelted occupants.
"We know that seatbelts save lives," Crown Corporations Minister Ken Cheveldayoff said. "The issue of low seatbelt use on rural and First Nations roads is of great concern. By partnering with these communities to promote and reward seatbelt use, we can raise awareness about the importance of buckling up."
In the Saskatoon Health Region, the towns of Wynyard, Lanigan, Wadena and Watrous will challenge each other to buckle up. In the File Hills Qu'Appelle Tribal Council communities, Carry the Kettle First Nation, Muskowpetung First Nation, Standing Buffalo First Nation, Little Black Bear, Pasqua First Nation, Peepeekisis First Nation, Nekaneet First Nation and Star Blanket First Nation will get into the competitive spirit. Roadside activities are planned to kick-off the challenge in each community beginning this week, and the winning communities will be announced in December.
"In the pilot last year, all communities that conducted the surveys saw an increase in seatbelt usage rates," Cheveldayoff said. "We are hoping to see positive results again this year."
In addition to the Seatbelt Challenge, SGI will be promoting seatbelt use throughout the province with an advertising campaign, including television, billboards, posters and roadside signs.
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