4th Jul, 2022

Police urge drivers to belt up as part of national campaign

Andy Morris 23rd Jun, 2020

BELT up – that is the message from Warwickshire Police, as new figures show one person died and 15 were seriously injured where seatbelts were not worn in the county in the last year.

The force has joined a national campaign to encourage drivers and passengers to always wear seatbelts as it could save their lives.

Nationally, in the last five years, the proportion of car occupants killed who were not wearing a seatbelt has remained consistently above 20 per cent – and statistics suggest car occupants are twice as likely to die in a collision if they don’t wear seatbelts.

A Warwickshire Police spokesperson said: “It’s no excuse to say ‘it’s only a short trip’ or that for example you are a delivery driver jumping in and out of your van. Even at slow speeds you can be seriously injured or killed and collisions are just as likely to happen in areas you know well or near your home.

“Drivers and passengers aged 17-34 have the lowest seatbelt-wearing rates, combined with the highest accident rate. This may be because they feel safely cocooned in modern vehicles that have so many safety features they feel they don’t need to worry about the basics like using a seatbelt.

“However, a seatbelt not only reduces your risk of death or serious injury in a collision by reducing your impact with the vehicle interior, but it also keeps you positioned correctly for the maximum effectiveness of the airbag and prevents you from being ejected from your vehicle in a collision or if your vehicle rolls. We don’t want anyone to be in this situation.”

Insp Jem Mountford added: “The reason seatbelt legislation exists is because wearing a seatbelt could save your life. It’s as simple as that.

“Not wearing a seatbelt is one of the ‘fatal four’ major causes of death and serious injury on the roads alongside drink-driving, drivers using mobile phones and speeding.

“One way our officers can help reduce the number of people who are killed or seriously injured on our roads every year is to ensure drivers comply with seatbelt legislation and we will be proactively patrolling Warwickshire’s roads over the coming weeks to both educate car occupants and enforce the legislation.“

Drivers and passengers who fail to wear seat belts in the front and back of vehicles are breaking the law. Drivers are responsible for ensuring anyone under the age of 14 wears a seatbelt or uses an appropriate child restraint as required by law. If you are over the age of 14 it is your responsibility to wear a seatbelt.

Drivers caught without a seatbelt face on-the-spot fines of £100. If prosecuted, the maximum fine is £500.

Between April 2019 and March 2020 Warwickshire Police issued 171 fixed penalty notices and driver retraining courses where either the front seat passenger or driver failed to wear a seat belt.

The three-week national campaign will feature social media clips to help dispel some of the myths around what happens in a collision. Use the hashtags #beltup and #SeatbeltsSaveLives on @WarksPolice and @OPUWarks to follow the campaign.

Visit www.gov.uk/seat-belts-law/overview for details of the UK legal requirements for seatbelts.

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