New Brunswick

RCMP pose as road crews to nab unbuckled motorists

New Brunswick RCMP are going undercover as road workers to catch people flouting the seatbelt law.

Crackdown aimed at enforcing seatbelt law to cut fatalities

New Brunswick RCMP are going undercover as road workers to catch people flouting the seatbelt law.

Cpl. Al Boulianne said almost half of this year’s fatal crash victims were not wearing seatbelts. He said that's 10 per cent higher than the average over the last five years.

To drive the message home, officers are posing as road crews to nab violators.

"We put on an RCMP coverall with a baseball hat and a traffic vest and we have the big stop sign like a construction zone with pylons," he said.

"People come, they don't think it’s police, then bang — if they're not wearing a seatbelt, we just pull them over and there's two or three police officers behind a building issuing a ticket."

Labour Day weekend targeted

The fine is $172.50 and Boulianne warned drivers the undercover officers will be out in force on Labour Day weekend.

"We want people to know that we are doing it not for fun. We're doing it because we want them to wear the seatbelt. Last week, in this one day, for an hour and a half we issued 21 seatbelt tickets," he said. "I was almost in tears when I got to the office. I said, ‘This is not acceptable.'"

In July, RCMP ticketed 348 people for seatbelt violations. Adults are responsible for their own belts and the driver must ensure anyone under 16 is buckled up.

The number of people killed on New Brunswick's roads is at an all-time low this year, with 37 people dying so far. Over the same period last year, 52 people died.

But Boulianne said at least 14 of this year's victims were not wearing seatbelts. Seatbelt usage could not be determined for another six victims

"That's at least 14 deaths that very likely could have been prevented had the victims only taken a few seconds to buckle up," he said.

"Not wearing your seatbelt increases your risk of serious injury or death in a crash by 75 per cent. That's a very big risk to take for something that should be an automatic action when you get into a vehicle."