Community group finds seatbelt compliance rate down in Kingston

Photo by Alexandria Gilliott.

On perhaps one of the most gridlocked days of traffic in recent Kingston history, one local community organization was out on the streets taking their annual count of those not wearing seatbelts in moving vehicles.

For the past eight years, Kingston: Partners for a Safe Community (KPSC) has conducted an annual seatbelt count, observing drivers and passengers at two major intersections within the city and tallying up the number of those they see not wearing seatbelts.

This year, their 2019 Seatbelt Count just happened to take place on the same day a tractor trailer fire and diesel spill closed down the eastbound lanes of Highway 401 for most of the day. This event saw a huge influx of traffic throughout the city, particularly in the downtown core, on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019.

But that didn’t stop KPSC from carrying out their mandate. Representatives from the group stood at the corner of two intersections – Bath Road and Sir John A. Macdonald Boulevard, and Highway 2 and Fort Henry Drive – for an hour at each location.

During the two-hour period, KPSC members observed 4,775 drivers and passengers. Of them, 62 people were observed to be not wearing their seatbelts. Those figures make for a 98.7 per cent compliance rate – down 0.1 per cent from last year’s 98.8 per cent compliance rate.

“Unfortunately, there are still Kingstonians risking their lives and the lives of others,” KPSC said in a press release on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019.

“When applying the 1.3 per cent non-compliance rate to the reported Kingston population of 169,606, over 2,205 Kingstonians are risking their lives and the lives of others by not buckling up!”

Over the eight years that KPSC has been doing their seatbelt count event, the city’s average seatbelt compliance rate has been 97 per cent, the group reports.

“Using seatbelts is the single, most effective way to reduce vehicle-related injuries and fatalities. In fact, people in a moving vehicle are, on average, 30 times more likely to be killed if they are not wearing their seatbelts during a collision,” KPSC said.

“It only takes three seconds to buckle up. Three seconds could save your life!”

To read more about the findings of KPSC’s 2019 Distracted Driving checkpoints campaign, which found that two per cent of drivers are still using cellphones improperly, click here.

For more information on KPSC, click here.

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