RCMP enforce Operation Impact, urge public to always buckle up

  • Oct. 13, 2009 9:00 a.m.

Staff reporter

To save lives and reduce injuries on Alberta’s roads and highways, the RCMP will be on patrol for particular driving behaviours as well as urging the public to always ensure that they, along with all other occupants use their seatbelts.

As part of Operation Impact, held from Oct. 9 to12, members of the Rimbey RCMP focused on drivers, passengers and other users of roads who were most likely to create risk – including impaired drivers – along with all aspects related to aggressive driving, no matter what time of the year.

“The deaths, pain and broken hearts that result from carelessness behind the wheel can be prevented,” said Rimbey RCMP Sgt. Mark Groves. “Police agencies across the province and country are collaborating on this project because they have seen more than enough of that, and because they know that the involvement of the driving public is essential to achieve safer streets and highways.”

Groves said the timing of Operation Impact was strategically chosen due to the high volumes of traffic during the Thanksgiving long weekend when more people are travelling, resulting in an increase in collisions.

Going hand-in-hand with Operation Impact – a federal program of Road Safety Vision 2010, which has a goal of making Canada’s roads the safest in the world; the RCMP will also focus on the use of seatbelts and child safety seats for every occupant.

Each year more than 350 people are killed and another 20,000 injured in motor vehicle collisions in Alberta. Of those, over half of the fatalities were not wearing their seatbelts.

According to the Alberta Occupant Restraint Program, seat belts and child safety seats are the most cost-effective means to reducing injuries and deaths from motor vehicle collisions and that lap/shoulder belt usage for occupants of the front seat reduce the risk of fatal or serious injuries by up to 50 per cent, and up to 65 per cent for those riding in light trucks.

Additionally, 75 per cent of those ejected from vehicles are killed as a result of injuries sustained despite the fact that the inside of vehicles contain an engineered life space, specifically designed to protect secured occupants. As well, as it is the safest place, children under the age of 12 should always sit in the back seat, especially if the vehicle is equipped with a supplemental restraint system, also known as airbags.

“One of the most difficult things for police officers is attending to a residence and advising the next of kin of a death in the family,” Groves added. “The RCMP want to educate the public to prevent such traumatic experiences for both the public and RCMP officers throughout Alberta.”