The difference between life and death in a road traffic collision can often be down to whether you are wearing a seat belt.
That is the warning from Northamptonshire Police as officers from across the Force take part in a UK policing campaign to target those who fail to wear a seat belt on our county’s roads.
As part of the National Policing Chiefs’ Council seatbelt enforcement operation, officers will be out in force from today (Monday, June 22), looking for anyone who isn’t belted up.
The campaign aims is to reduce the number of people who are killed or seriously injured on the UK’s road. Not wearing a seat belt is one of the main contributors, and is one of the fatal four driving offences.
The first week will focus on educating car occupants on the dangers of not wearing a seat belt as well as passenger safety, and in particular, the use of child seats and transporting those under the age of 14.
This will be followed by a further two weeks of enforcement. Anyone caught not wearing a seat belt can take an online education course or receive a fixed penalty fine of £100. If they elect to go to court, the fine increases to a maximum £500.
Drivers who are stopped for carrying too many passengers for their vehicle will receive an automatic three points on their driving licence and a fixed penalty fine of £100.
PC Dave Lee of Northamptonshire Police’s Safer Roads Team, said: “Wearing a seat belt in a car is such a basic piece of road safety advice that it amazes me that some people still fail to use one. This also applies to people not wearing their seat belt correctly.
“For the next three weeks, we will be out and about across the county looking for people who can’t spend five seconds putting their seat belt on. The penalties people may face can include a fixed penalty fine and in some cases, a court appearance.
“By not wearing a seat belt, you’re 30 times more likely to be ejected from a vehicle and twice as likely to die in from injuries as a result of a collision. So please take responsibility for your personal safety on the roads and belt up!
“Having attended a number of fatal road traffic collisions where people have been ejected from the car, the consequences of not wearing a seat belt just aren’t worth contemplating.”
It is also important to remember that seat belts work in conjunction with other car safety features including airbags, it’s therefore vital to wear your seat belt correctly as intended by the manufacturers.
Reducing the number of people who are killed or seriously injured on the county’s road is one of the Force’s policing priorities. Last year in Northamptonshire, 42 people were killed, and a further 347 were seriously injured.