Belt Up - For Your Children's Sake

Road policing crews from Cleveland and Durham Police are supporting a Europe-wide seatbelt campaign next week.

Seatbelt Phil Grieve

The initiative will see officers stopping vehicles where drivers or passengers are not wearing their seatbelts from Monday, 12th September as part of the work carried out by TISPOL, the European traffic police network.

And with schools having gone back across the region at the start of this month, police will be paying particular attention to parents dropping off or picking up their children.

Under current legislation, drivers are responsible for ensuring that suitable safety restraints are worn by all passengers under 14 years old. Children must use an appropriate child car restraint for their weight until they are 135cm tall or their 12th birthday, whichever is first.

As seatbelts do not fit children correctly, an appropriate child car restraint is needed to offer the same level of protection as a seatbelt does for adults. Passengers over 14 years are responsible for wearing their own seatbelt and can therefore face prosecution.

Inspector Phil Grieve, from the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit, said: “Anyone travelling in a vehicle and not wearing a seatbelt is putting themselves, and potentially others at a much greater risk of serious injury or death.
“We want to keep motorists and passengers as safe as we possibly can and to reinforce the message that children are especially vulnerable.

“All too often our road policing officers have to deal with incidents where someone could have survived if they had been wearing a seatbelt. Safety restraints are fitted in every vehicle for a reason and the actions we are carrying out over the week should remind drivers why that is.”

Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, Barry Coppinger, said: “Campaigns like this one are extremely important in order to save lives and save people from being seriously injured in road traffic collisions. Seatbelts not being worn is one of the ‘fatal four’ contributory factors in which people involved in collisions are killed or seriously injured. I fully support any campaign which aims to make our roads safer and save lives.”

A week-long campaign held across Cleveland and Durham in March this year saw 60 seatbelt offences recorded in the two force areas and 4,212 across the UK overall.

- There were 54 child deaths in 2015, one more than in 2014. It has been identified that the majority of car seats across the UK are incorrectly fitted, where two in every three are not fitted properly. This may be contributing to the continuing rise in child road death and injury.
- In a crash at 30mph, if you are unrestrained your body will hit anything in front of you with a force equivalent to 30 to 60 times your own body weight
- Failing to wear a seatbelt carries a penalty of £100, should motorists be given an on-the-spot fine. Prosecution can lead to a maximum fine of up to £500.