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Police buckle down on seatbelt safety
A WARNING has gone out to motorists in Sedgemoor after new figures revealed one in four cars contain at least one person not wearing a seatbelt.
The statistics, from Somerset Road Safety, come as part of Avon and Somerset Police's Operation Relentless, aiming to keep people safe on the roads.
The police are joining a week-long Europe-wide road safety campaign, starting on March 11, 2013, where mobile patrols will be on the lookout for law breakers - sending the message that seatbelts should be worn at all times.
More than 300 drivers were stopped in the same operation in September last year. They were given information leaflets, advice and in some cases, verbal warnings.
More than 70 were given fixed penalty £60 fines for seatbelt offences and 24 were given the option of attending a driver education course.
Chief Inspector John Holt from the Operations and Roads Policing Unit, said: “Most people wouldn't dream of driving even a short distance without belting up, but those who do break the law should know that we will take action against them to help make the roads safer for everyone.”
Police and Somerset Road Safety are holding seminars for those caught not wearing a seatbelt at police roadside checks.
Cllr David Hall, cabinet member for road safety at Somerset County Council, said: “We want our roads to be a safe place and we are working closely with the police to tackle the problem.
“There is no good reason not to use a seat belt. If your car crashes at 30mph and you aren't wearing a seatbelt you will hit the dashboard or the seat in front of you with a force of up to 60 times your own body weight.
“It is the difference between having a very bad day and not seeing the next one at all.”
Across Europe, the majority of countries support the TISPOL seatbelt campaigns, which occur twice annually.
Experts estimate that the increased wearing of seatbelts due to national legislation and police enforcement has reduced fatalities by more than 20%. Research has also shown that a child under four is ten times more likely to be killed if unrestrained.