Warwickshire Road Safety Partnership asks drivers and passengers to check everyone always wears a seatbelt on every journey
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Warwickshire Road Safety Partnership is asking drivers and their passengers to check everyone is wearing a seatbelt before travelling as part of a national road safety campaign this month.
Whilst most people always wear a seatbelt, during a two week enforcement campaign in Warwickshire in 2022, 87% of those not wearing a seatbelt were male and 88% of those not wearing a seatbelt were over 25 years old. This follows the national trend.
Inspector Jem Mountford said “We are finding it difficult to understand why more men would choose not to wear a seatbelt because a seatbelt is one of the simplest and most effective things they can do to reduce the risk of injury in a collision to them and their passengers.
During the campaign we will be using social media to draw on the well-known phrase ‘it doesn’t take a brain surgeon’ to demonstrate that wearing a seatbelt is simple and not requiring much effort. Most drivers and passengers are more than capable of the required action.
In the current cost of living crisis, we want motorists to hang on to their hard-earned cash by always wearing a seatbelt because drivers may get a fine of £500 if they or a child under 14 is not wearing a seatbelt or appropriate child restraint as required by law.
If you are 14 years old or over, as a passenger you are responsible for always wearing a seatbelt if there is one available and could be fined for not wearing one.
But this may be about to change. In January, PACTS called for Penalty Points to be introduced to change the attitudes and behaviours of what they call the “forgetful or reckless minority” who fail to wear a seatbelt. This is currently being considered by the Government.
But is this really why people don’t belt up?
Despite sobering statistics from PACTS that 30% of people who died in cars in 2021 were not wearing a seatbelt - some 200 men, women, and children, feedback from Warwickshire officers indicates that some drivers and passengers seem to be either forgetful, lazy or lack concern.
Inspector Mountford added “We hope this isn’t the case. In the meantime, we will continue to raise awareness to help educate drivers so they choose to always wear a seatbelt. This is our preferred approach.
However our role is to protect people from harm on the roads and to do this, as well as our regular seatbelt operations, we are always looking for new and innovative ways to change driver behaviour.
One way Warwickshire Police is doing this is by working in partnership with National Highways to trial artificial intelligence to detect seatbelt offences.
In September and October last year, the National Highways Sensor Van checked a total of 122,241 vehicles on the M40 and A46 in Warwickshire as part of the trial, over a period of 64 hours. This identified 512 vehicle occupants without a seatbelt and led to 152 mobile phone detections. Of the 664 offences detected, it is estimated that 530 (79.81%) were committed by people between the ages of 30 and 49, while 627 (94.42%) of those caught out are male.
This technology is achieving great results and we believe it won’t be long before cameras use AI to detect all sorts of driver offences. We hope this will mean even those more reluctant drivers will change their habits and belt up.
As part of the campaign, Warwickshire Road Safety Partnership also offered Free child car seat and vehicle safety check events throughout Warwickshire, during May half term.
Please follow the campaign and help make your roads safer by sharing messages from Facebook @WarwickshireRoadSafety and Twitter @WarksRoadSafety #StandingUpForBeltingUp