As part of a European wide road policing campaign, Monday 11th to 17th March marks seatbelt enforcement week.
Operation Macaroon has been launched by Cheshire Police in response to this with targeted enforcement across Cheshire and this will be operational all week.
According to the Department for Transport’s Think campaign, drivers and passengers aged 17-34 have the lowest seatbelt wearing rates combined with the highest accident rate. Any drivers who fail to wear seatbelts in the front and back of vehicles are breaking the law and drivers caught without a seatbelt face on the spot fines of £60. If prosecuted, the maximum fine is £500.
Sergeant Rachel Gallagher commented that "anyone who is in a car irrespective of where they are sat will endanger all other passengers in that vehicle if they are not wearing a seatbelt. If you are not wearing a seatbelt, you are likely to be thrown from your vehicle and potentially crushed if that vehicle rolls"
In the past three years, there have been six similar campaigns run by Cheshire Police, the results of which show a continued increase in seatbelt offences. In March 2012, 139 tickets were issued whilst for September 2012; there were 279 tickets issued. This indicates that the message is still not getting through to motorists to drive safely and without risk to your passengers.
- Over 90% of adult front seat passengers and drivers wear seat belts, as do 66% of adult rear seat passengers. If wearing rates in the rear were as high as those in the front, a further 30 adult lives would be saved each year.
- Since the law to wear seatbelts in the front was introduced in 1983, front seat belts are estimated to have saved 50,000 lives, 590,000 serious casualties and 1.5 million minor injuries
- As many as 15 front seat occupants are killed annually by the impact of an unbelted rear seat passenger
- Seat belt wearing rates are higher in rural areas (93%) than in urban areas (89%)
- Women (94%) are more conscientious than men (86%) at wearing a seat belt
- There is evidence that people are less likely to use seatbelts on short or familiar journeys - this puts them at serious risk of injury in a crash.
You can read more about Cheshire Police at www.cheshire.police.uk