Along with Darth Vader, Luke, and Leia, Saskatchewan’s seatbelt law is celebrating it’s 40th anniversary.

And like anything, the law has aged with time. When introduced in 1977, the law only applied to drivers, front seat passengers, and children under 16 years old. Today, the law applies to anyone in a vehicle and includes specific rules from child safety seats.

The numbers show seatbelts save lives. In 1986, the furthest back SGI numbers go, there were 111 people killed in crashes who weren’t wearing a seatbelt. Another 2,699 were injured. Last year, the numbers dropped to 25 deaths and 155 injuries.

According to data from Transport Canada, roughly 93 per cent of vehicle occupants in the province now wear a seatbelt. Still, SGI says there is still work to be done.

“There are still too many fatalities that could have been prevented if a seatbelt had been worn,” said Earl Cameron, Executive Vice-President of the Auto Fund, “Wearing a seatbelt reduces your risk of being injured or killed in a crash by about 50 per cent. It takes only three seconds to buckle up – 1, 2, 3 – click.”

And as the number of people wearing a seatbelt has gone up, so has the fine for not following the law. In 1977, the fine for not wearing a seatbelt was $20. Today, refusing to buckle up will drivers $175. On top of the driver’s fine, those behind the wheel are also responsible for kids under 16 donning the belt and can be fined for each unrestrained child in the vehicle.

 Despite traffic blitzes and public awareness, SGI still issued 4,122 fines for failing to wear a seatbelt last year

With the 40th anniversary of the seatbelt, SGI is hoping to once again reiterate the importance of a lesson they’ve been teaching the province for decades: Buckle up.