Seatbelt enforcement checks are taking place across Europe this week as part of an annual campaign organised by TISPOL, the European traffic police network.
During the weeklong enforcement campaign (12-18 March) police officers are warning drivers of the risks they face by not wearing a seatbelt, and vehicle occupants who do not wear a belt are being issued with a penalty.
The Road Safety Observatory says seatbelts are ‘50% effective at preventing fatal injuries for drivers’, and 45% effective for front seat passengers.
Paolo Cestra, TISPOL president, said: “Using a seatbelt is a quick and simple task (and) a very effective way of reducing the consequences of a collision. That’s why wearing a seatbelt is not a matter of personal choice, but is compulsory for drivers and passengers in every European country.
“The use of seatbelts is the single most effective method of reducing fatalities and serious injuries in motor vehicle collisions.”
Police Forces across Wales are working together to deliver the all Wales seatbelt campaign, pointing out that not wearing a seatbelt can be a fatal decision even on short, familiar journeys and at low speeds.
Temporary assistant chief constable Jonathan Edwards, strategic lead for roads policing in Wales, said: “The key message we are trying to get across is that wearing a seatbelt really could mean the difference between life and death – and that applies just as much to passengers as it does to drivers.”
Susan Storch, chair of Road Safety Wales, added: “Seatbelts are designed to work as an important part of life saving and injury prevention measures within the vehicle.
“Safety systems such as airbags and head restraints will not be as effective in reducing the risk of being hurt or even killed if an occupant is not wearing a seatbelt.”
In England, the campaign is being supported by Kent Police.
Sergeant Grant Steele of Kent’s roads policing unit, said: ‘We welcome any opportunity to promote road safety messages.
‘Seatbelts reduce the risk of death in the event of a collision by around 50%. They restrain the strongest part of the human body, keeping people within the vehicle and they spread out any force from the collision. They help the body to slow down on impact and protect the spinal cord.
“Despite all this we still come across people who just do not put their seatbelt on. It is particularly shocking that there are parents who allow their children to travel without them too.”