Transport Canada has announced results from the September 2004 survey of seatbelt use in rural areas of Canada, which indicate that a significant number of Canadians continue to put themselves at risk by not wearing their seatbelts. In rural Canada, almost 87 per cent of all occupants of light-duty vehicles buckle up. This is up two per cent from the previous study in 2002 but remains short of the national target of 95 per cent. Provinces at or above the national average were Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. “The safety of Canadians is our main concern,” said Transport Minister Jean-C. Lapierre. “The lives of almost half of the occupants of vehicles involved in collisions are saved because they were wearing their seatbelts. Seatbelts save lives, it’s as simple as that.” Through the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, Transport Canada partners with provinces, territories, police services and other road safety agencies to get this message across. The survey was the second rural seatbelt survey done in Canada. It targeted all occupants of light-duty vehicles passenger cars, light trucks, minivans and SUVs. The survey took place from September 22 to 28, 2004 and involved 252 sites. A total of 39,769 vehicles and 58,743 occupants were observed during the survey. Transport Canada conducted the survey as part of the National Occupant Restraint Program 2010, which aims to increase seatbelt use by Canadians. The program’s goal is to achieve a minimum of 95 per cent seatbelt usage and proper use of child restraints by 2010. It forms an important component of Road Safety Vision 2010, a national plan of action endorsed by the Council of Ministers Responsible for Transportation and Highway Safety, and other key road safety stakeholders, to make Canada’s roads the safest in the world by 2010. Results from the September 2004 survey provide Transport Canada with a representative sample of seatbelt use in rural Canada. Future surveys will provide the department with comparable data that can be used to detect trends and issues in seatbelt usage. In the fall of 2005, Transport Canada will conduct a survey of urban communities that will complement the 2004 rural survey.