Hundreds of motorists still not wearing seatbelts, say police

PUBLISHED: 16:45 14 March 2018 | UPDATED: 16:49 14 March 2018

This car was was going 30mph when it was involved in a crash. The passenger was not wearing a seatbelt and you can clearly see where their head hit the windscreen. Picture: BCH Road Policing Unit

This car was was going 30mph when it was involved in a crash. The passenger was not wearing a seatbelt and you can clearly see where their head hit the windscreen. Picture: BCH Road Policing Unit

Archant

It’s 35 years since the UK first made it compulsory to wear a seatbelt – yet last year 420 people were prosecuted in Hertfordshire for not buckling up.

That’s compared to 314 in Cambridgeshire, and 364 in Bedfordshire – and the joint Beds, Cambs and Herts Road Policing Unit is this week mounting an enforcement campaign targeting those who choose not to wear their belts.

Insp Chris Huggins from the road policing unit said: “The vast majority of road users wear a seatbelt, but unbelievably after more than 30 years of safety campaigns and legislation some people still don’t.

“The seatbelt can often be the difference between life and death for both drivers and passengers involved in a collision. The message is simple – wear it.”

He added: “It’s also important people wear the seatbelt correctly. We often see people wearing the strap under, rather than over, their arm.

“In the event of a collision this could cause serious injuries, particularly to women.”

Those caught not wearing a seatbelt can be fined up to £500.

Road policing officers have been educating people about wearing seatbelts correctly, and the importance of securing children in the most appropriate seat for their age and height.

A child must use a car seat until they are 12 years old or 135cm (4ft 5in) tall. Babies should be in rear-facing car seats until they are 15 months old or 9kg (1.4 stone), depending on the type of safety device.

“If you have a young child please make sure they are in the correct car seat and that they are secured,” said Insp Huggins.

“If you are unsure of how to do this then please speak to the retailer you are buying the seat from.”

According to the Department for Transport’s Think! campaign, you’re twice as likely to die in a crash if you don’t wear a seatbelt. The campaign also cites evidence suggesting people are less likely to use seatbelts on short or familiar journeys – putting them at risk of serious injury.

Front seatbelts were compulsory on all new cars registered in the UK from 1972, but it only became mandatory to wear them in 1983. Back seatbelts were compulsory from 1986 and had to be worn from 1991.

For more about the law surrounding seatbelts and child car seats, have a look at gov.uk/seat-belts-law and gov.uk/child-car-seats-the-rules.

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