Police forces across the UK are running enforcement campaigns targeting those who opt not to wear a seatbelt, as part of a week-long Europe-wide operation co-ordinated by TISPOL, the European Traffic Police Network (13-19 March)
Police in Wales have launched an ‘All Wales Seatbelt Campaign’, while Norfolk Police are one of a number of constabularies participating in the TISPOL initiative.
According to research published in the Road Safety Observatory, seatbelts are ‘50% effective at preventing fatal injuries for drivers’. That figure stands at 45% for front seat passengers.
Paolo Cestra, TISPOL President, said: “Using a seatbelt is a quick and simple task; it’s also a highly 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.
“Yet there are still drivers and passengers who for whatever reason do not use a seatbelt.
“We urge drivers to take responsibility for their own safety and for the safety of their passengers, by ensuring everyone wears a seatbelt on every road journey. After all, the use of seatbelts is the single most effective method of reducing fatalities and serious injuries in motor vehicle collisions.
Launched yesterday (13 Mar) by Dyfed Powys Police, the All Wales campaign stresses to car users the dangers of not wearing seatbelts, reminding them that ‘belting up can save a life’.
The campaign is also reminding drivers that they are responsible for ensuring that passengers under the age of 14 years are wearing a seatbelt, or using the correct child restraint for their height and age.
Assistant chief constable Liane James, Dyfed Powys Police, said: “Wearing a seatbelt is such a simple, easy thing to do. As police officers, we see the consequences of driving without a seatbelt all too often at crash scenes.
“While you will face a fine if you are caught without your seatbelt on, 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, and it also endangers other people within the car.”
Police in Norfolk and Suffolk are also targeting drivers and passengers who don’t belt-up, with additional checks being carried out as part of the TISPOL initiative.
Officers from the joint Norfolk and Suffolk Roads Policing Unit are conducting checks on motorists and passengers across both counties.
During the last TISPOL campaign held in October last year, 52 people in Norfolk were caught driving without a seatbelt.
Lorne Green, Norfolk police and crime commissioner, said: “I fully support increased enforcement campaigns like this to target those intent on flouting the law but there is only so much our police can do to keep Norfolk’s roads safe – the rest comes down to social responsibility.
“It is disappointing that, despite the warnings, more than 50 people were caught driving while not wearing a seatbelt during the last TISPOL campaign in Norfolk.
“Such carelessness is simply unacceptable and just not worth the risk so the next time you get into your vehicle do yourself and other road users a favour and belt-up.”