Police warn: Belt up - it could save your life
POLICE launch a crackdown on motorists who flout the seatbelt law today with a simple message: "belting up can save a life."
Officers from the four Welsh forces will be on the roads for the next two weeks to raise awareness of the importance of wearing seatbelts — and targeting those who refuse to buckle up. Offenders can expect £60 on-the-spot fines or a possible summons to court — where fines of up to £500 can be handed down.
The Wales-wide campaign is being led by Dyfed-Powys Police.
Assistant chief constable Carl Langley said: "Wearing a seat belt is such a simple, easy thing to do. As police officers, we see the consequences of driving without a seatbelt all too often at crash scenes.
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"While you will face a fine if you are caught without your seatbelt on, the key message we are trying to get across is that wearing a seatbelt really could mean the difference between life and death — and that applies just as much to passengers as it does to drivers."
This year is the 30th anniversary of the introduction of the law which made it compulsory to wear seatbelts in the front of cars — after 15 years of arguments over whether drivers should be forced to buckle up at the wheel. The legislation is credited with saving thousands of lives and serious injuries.
Sian Willis, 32, from Landore, remembers an accident in Swansea seven years ago, where passengers were not wearing seatbelts. She said: "One of them lost their pancreas and the other was told they would never walk again."
Samantha Richards, 27, from Bridgend, said wearing seatbelts was still a problem for some drivers.
"I have friends who still don't wear theirs or even make their children wear them," she said.
Although wearing seatbelts in the front of cars became compulsory in January 1983, it was another eight years before back- seat passengers were forced to belt up.
The launch of the Welsh crackdown coincides with a similar campaign being run in countries across Europe by Tispol, the European traffic police network.
Susan Storch, chairman of Road Safety Wales, said people needed to be aware of the importance of wearing seatbelts.
"We know that there are still people across Wales who are taking that risk," she said.
"Wearing a seatbelt can mean the difference between life and death so drivers and passengers need to realise the importance of belting up not only for their own safety but for others also."