Warwickshire Police urges the public to please ‘belt up’
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Warwickshire Police is urging the public to please ‘belt up’ as part of a national campaign starting today, Monday 22 June, to encourage drivers and passengers to always wear seatbelts as it could save your life.
Nationally, in the last 5 years, the proportion of car occupants killed who were not wearing a seatbelt has remained consistently above 20%.
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.
Whilst it’s difficult to know if the outcomes of these collisions would have been any different, we do know from national DfT THINK! statistics that you are twice as likely to die in a collision if you don’t wear your seatbelt.
Worryingly research says people are less likely to use seatbelts on short or familiar journeys – putting them at serious risk of injury in a collision. (Source: THINK!)
It’s no excuse to say ‘it’s only a short trip’ or that for example you are a delivery driver jumping in and out of your van. Even at slow speeds you can be seriously injured or killed and collisions are just as likely to happen in areas you know well or near your home.
Shockingly drivers and passengers aged 17-34 have the lowest seatbelt-wearing rates, combined with the highest accident rate. (Source:THINK!) This may be because they feel safely cocooned in modern vehicles that have so many safety features they feel they don’t need to worry about the basics like using a seatbelt.
A seatbelt not only reduces your risk of death or serious injury in a collision by reducing your impact with the vehicle interior, but it also keeps you positioned correctly for the maximum effectiveness of the airbag and prevents you from being ejected from your vehicle in a collision or if your vehicle rolls. We don’t want anyone to be in this situation.
Inspector Jem Mountford said “The reason seatbelt legislation exists is because wearing a seatbelt could save your life. It’s as simple as that. Not wearing a seatbelt is one of the ‘fatal four’ major causes of death and serious injury on the roads alongside drink-driving, drivers using mobile phones and speeding.
“One way our officers can help reduce the number of people who are killed or seriously injured on our roads every year is to ensure drivers comply with seatbelt legislation and we will be proactively patrolling Warwickshire’s roads over the coming weeks to both educate car occupants and enforce the legislation.“
Drivers and passengers who fail to wear seat belts in the front and back of vehicles are breaking the law.
But whose responsibility is it to ensure everyone ‘belts up’? As a driver you are responsible for ensuring that anyone under the age of 14 wears a seat belt 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.
Drivers caught without a seat belt face on-the-spot fines of £100. If prosecuted, the maximum fine is £500.
Officers are always 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.
The three week national campaign will feature a number of social media clips to help dispel some of the myths around what happens to you in a collision. For example, the forces of a collision are so strong you cannot overcome them by holding on to the steering wheel. If a vehicle suddenly stops due to a collision, your body wants to continue at the same speed it was going before. We will be using social media to help get some of these points across.
You can follow the campaign on social media using the hashtags #beltup and #SeatbeltsSaveLives on @WarksPolice and @OPUWarks
Full details of the UK legal requirements for seat belts can be found at https://www.gov.uk/seat-belts-law/overview.