EDITORIAL: Seatbelt message still being missed

What more can the RCMP do to get their message out about using seatbelts?

Because whatever it is the Vernon-North Okanagan detachment is doing, the message is not being heard.

On Thursday, the local detachment was carrying out a province-wide, month-long enforcement campaign directive aimed at finding so-called distracted drivers, those who drive while talking on a cell phone or text messaging.

And the five Vernon officers assigned to that duty on Thursday did find 12 such distracted drivers.

But they also ticketed 42 people – nearly four times as many – for not wearing seatbelts.

Hard to fathom in this day and age, but those were the numbers from the one-day campaign.

A total of 42 people now facing $167 fines (on the same day gas prices rose in Vernon by 16 cents) because they couldn’t be bothered to put the strap over their shoulder and buckle up.

And if the passenger(s) aren’t buckled in, they get fined as well.

One driver told the RCMP officer who stopped him for not wearing a seatbelt that he heard on the radio police were going to be targeting distracted drivers, so he didn’t think they’d be looking for seatbelt infractions.

Does the RCMP have to get more proactive? How many media campaigns can they launch through newspapers, radio and TV stations about the value of wearing a seatbelt before everyone gets the message?

It’s been proven seatbelts save lives. Not in all cases, but in a vast majority of them. And, as 42 people found out in Greater Vernon Thursday, it’s against the law to not wear seatbelts.

Police should launch a month-long campaign targeting people not belted in, and advertise the campaign heavily on the social media networks, such as Facebook and Twitter

And then maybe, just maybe, the number of seatbelt violations will come down.

---The Morning Star



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