Warwickshire Seat Belt Enforcement hits home

Warwickshire Police officers intercepted and stopped 50 vehicles after observing seatbelt offences during a three week campaign (29 June to 12 July 2020) to encourage drivers and passengers to always wear a seatbelt as it could save your life.

Five of the offenders were van drivers and all of the offences were committed by males aged over 25 years old.

One child was also found not to be appropriately restrained in a vehicle.

Whilst the aim of the campaign is to educate and raise awareness of the risks of not wearing a seatbelt to encourage the public to always ‘belt up’, there is also an enforcement element.

This provided the opportunity for officers to speak to drivers and 26 people received verbal advice at the roadside.

A further 24 people received Traffic Offence Reports that could result in £100 fine. If prosecuted, the maximum fine is £500.

Some people may think that they will never be in a collision or it is only a short journey so they don’t need to wear a seatbelt. However our statistics tell us otherwise.

In the same three week period, officers attended 11 collisions of which 7 were slight injury and 4 were serious injury collisions. In one of these collisions, a seat belt was not worn and this resulted in a serious injury.

Over a year the statistics are even clearer. In Warwickshire in the twelve months between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020 one person died and 15 people were seriously injured where seatbelts were not worn.

Inspector Jem Mountford said “The reason wearing a seatbelt is so important is because it reduces your risk of death or serious injury in a collision.

“We will continue to proactively police the county’s roads to educate drivers and passengers and to enforce seatbelt legislation.

“We are also asking the public to make sure their friends, family and colleagues always ‘belt up’. By doing this, you could save their life.”

If you are in a collision, wearing a seatbelt reduces your impact with the vehicle interior and keeps you positioned correctly for the maximum effectiveness of the airbag. A seatbelt also prevents you from being ejected from your vehicle in a collision or if your vehicle rolls. We don’t want this to happen to anyone.

Drivers and passengers who fail to wear seatbelts in the front and back of vehicles are breaking the law.

As a driver you are responsible for ensuring that 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.

Police officers continue to be on the lookout for people not wearing seatbelts.

Between 1 April 2019 and 31 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.

Full details of the UK legal requirements for seat belts can be found at https://www.gov.uk/seat-belts-law/overview.

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