Seatbelt Safety Campaign Launched

ROADS policing officers across Durham and Cleveland will crackdown on drivers and passengers who do not wear seatbelts this week.

Seatbelt safety campaign launched Sergeant Peter Tate from Channel 5’s Police Interceptors and Darlington Borough Council’s ‘seatbelt sheriff’ Denise Caley, spoke to children at Reid Street Primary School in Darlington today to spread the safety message during the national week-long campaign to drive down offences.

Officers will carry out enforcement action to target drivers and passengers as well as educating them on the dangers of ignoring the law as part of the work carried out by the TISPOL European traffic police network. 

The statistics are stark – motorists are twice as likely to die if they don't wear a seatbelt. Rachael McKnight, 36, knows the dangers only too well. She was involved in a serious collision on the A19 near Hutton Henry, east Durham, two years ago this month. The crash left her mother-in-law paralysed and Rachel and her husband injured. She credits seatbelts as being one of the reasons that they survived.

She said: “A seatbelt makes the difference between being dead or alive. The chance is not worth it. You should always wear one. It only takes seconds to clip in.
“We suffered bruising from our seatbelts but without them the outcome could have been far worse.”

Legislation states that 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.

Fifty eight fixed penalty notices were issued to motorists for driving with a child in the car who was not buckled up during 2016 and 2017.

Inspector Jon Curtis from the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit, said: “There are no excuses when it comes to a choice between life or death.
“Those who do not wear a seatbelt take an immeasurable risk with their own lives and the lives of others travelling in the vehicle. The important thing to remember is that seatbelts do save lives.
“The aim of this campaign is to keep people as safe on our roads as we possibly can, and by raising awareness of the need for seatbelts and the appropriate child car restraints, we hope to reduce the numbers of people seriously injured, and potentially killed, across Cleveland and Durham.
“Our roads policing officers see the devastating aftermath that the death of a loved one has on families, and this is all the more tragic if the death could have been easily prevented by something as simple as putting on a seatbelt.

“Today children were encouraged to become mini seatbelt sheriffs to remind family and friends to buckle up in the car on any future journeys.”

Ron Hogg, Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner for County Durham and Darlington said: “All too often our road policing officers have to deal with crashes where the simple act of wearing a seatbelt, or using the correct child car restraints, could have avoided injury or saved someone’s life.
“I encourage drivers and passengers to belt up correctly before every journey, and to ensure young people are fastened in safely and securely.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger said: “One of my priorities is to help reduce casualties and serious injuries caused on roads across Cleveland. I fully support this work and campaigns such as this one assist in raising awareness of the four main factors which contribute towards serious or fatal collisions (seatbelts, distraction, speed and being intoxicated through alcohol/drugs) and the ways which we can potentially save lives.”

Any schools across Cleveland and Durham that are interested in a safety presentation please contact [email protected]