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Results of Transport Canada's September 2004 Survey of Seat Belt Use in Rural Areas of the Country

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Road Safety and Motor Vehicle Regulation
Transport Canada
Road Safety Fact Sheet
TP2436 E
May 2005


The National Occupant Restraint Program (NORP 2010) is an important element of Road Safety Vision 2010 — an ambitious partnership approved by the federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for transportation and highway safety to make Canada's roads the safest in the world. The objective of the National Occupant Restraint Program is to achieve a minimum 95% national seat belt usage and the proper use of child restraints by all motor vehicle occupants. Transport Canada's contribution to this program of promoting seat belt usage is to conduct observational surveys.

In September 2004, Transport Canada conducted an observational survey of seat belt use in rural communities across Canada. This survey was the second one, although there are some differences in the design between the 2002 survey and the 2004 survey.


Rural Canada was defined as towns with a population of fewer than 10,000 but more than 1,000 that are located outside any census metropolitan area or census agglomeration1. The survey targeted all occupants of light-duty vehicles which include passenger cars, light trucks, minivans and sport utility vehicles (SUVs). The survey, which occurred over the week of September 22 to September 28, involved 252 sites. Each observation period was two hours long and took place during daylight hours (between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.). A total of 39,769 vehicles and 58,743 occupants were observed during the course of the survey.

1 To be more exact, the definition used in this survey also includes those communities that  have a population over 10,000 but are not classified as census agglomerations. 



Road Safety Vision 2010 is targeting a decrease of 30% in the average annual number of road users killed or seriously injured during the 2008–2010 period compared with  1996–2001. Sub targets include reducing casualties resulting from non use of restraint systems and decreasing casualties resulting from crashes occurring on rural roadways.

The rural seat belt wearing survey summarized here represents one of a number of important Vision 2010 initiatives undertaken by the National Occupant Restraint Program (NORP 2010) Task Force. The results of this survey will help build a business case for the adoption of measures to meet the NORP 2010 goal of increasing seat belt usage rates in rural Canada from 86.9% to 95% by 2010.

In the fall of 2005, Transport Canada plans to conduct a survey of urban communities and their rural fringes that will complement the 2004 rural survey.


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