Operation Hang Up, Buckle Up blitz taking place today and Thursday

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A province-wide traffic safety blitz targeting cellphone and seatbelt use will take place on June 19 and 20.

Law enforcement officers across the province will be on the lookout for people not wearing a seatbelt, wearing one improperly or not having their kids properly secured in the vehicle.

“During last month’s blitz, 102 people were ticketed for seatbelt violations,” said Andrew Cartmell, President and CEO of SGI. “Those numbers are disturbing, especially when buckling up is such a simple thing to do with a huge safety payout. Wearing a seatbelt decreases your odds of being killed or seriously injured in a crash by 50 per cent.”

Motorists using a cellphone while driving will also be targeted during the blitz. Cellphone use while driving results in a $280 ticket and the loss of four points under SGI’s Safe Driver Recognition program. Depending where you sit on the safety rating scale, you may have to pay a financial penalty or lose any insurance discount you receive. Cellphone use also contributes to distracted driving, which is the leading contributing factor in all collisions in the province.

Preliminary numbers from 2012 show improper or non-seatbelt use contributed to 47 deaths and 274 injuries in the province. Distracted driving, which includes cellphone use, contributed to 60 deaths and nearly 2,200 injuries.

“Wearing a seatbelt is a choice; not using a cellphone to text or talk while driving is a choice," said Chief Troy Hagen, President of the Saskatchewan Association of Chiefs of Police.

"What does it take to make people choose wisely? Anyone who has lost a loved one in a collision wishes every day to have those moments of choice back again. Please, hang up and buckle up."   

The blitz will be held in conjunction with a Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) event occurring in Kindersley, resulting in a concentrated effort in that area.

The last Operation Hang Up, Buckle Up blitz took place in March and resulted in a total of 282 tickets, including 84 cellphone violations and 101 seatbelt violations.

With construction season underway, motorists are also reminded to be extra cautious when driving through construction zones and to always obey posted speed limits.

Organizations: SGI, Saskatchewan Association of Chiefs of Police

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