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20 March 2014, 06:34 | Updated: 20 March 2014, 07:09
441 people, including 6 children, have been caught not wearing their seatbelts in a week-long campaign by Hampshire Police.
Officers were taking part in a Europe wide campaign that ran from March 10-16 to catch those who don’t wear a seatbelt when they should do.
Since 1983 it’s been law to wear a seatbelt in a vehicle expect in a few rare exceptions.
Those who were caught may face a fine of up to £500 or being offered the chance to go on an awareness course as an alternative..
More importantly officers hope by stopping them they have highlighted the danger they are putting themselves in if their vehicle is involved in a crash.
As well as the 441 stopped for seatbelt offences officers taking part in the crackdown also detected 61 other offences from using a mobile phone while driving to defective tyres and no insurance.
Hampshire’s Road Safety Officer, Sergeant Rob Heard said:
“It has been surprising how many people are still not wearing their seatbelts and not really understanding the risks they are putting themselves under. The devastating injuries or possible fatal injuries you can receive from not wearing a seat belt really should encourage everyone to belt up. It is just not worth risking your life and the heartache your family will feel from your loss.
“European research shows that about 50% of all car occupants that die in a fatal accident in the EU could have survived of they had worn a seatbelt.
“I have noted from the checks I have attended, that many of those caught not wearing a seatbelt are van drivers who state they wear the belts in their cars but forget to wear them in their vans when at work, sometimes because they are only travelling short distances. The law states you must wear a seatbelt unless you are driving a goods vehicle on deliveries and are travelling no more than 50 metres between stops.
“Forgetting to wear the belt is the biggest excuse we found. We have had some interesting excuses though as well. One man told us he did not want to ruin his tan. Due to the recent sunny weather he had caught a tan to his chest and felt the belt would wear some of the tan away. A couple of people stated they never wore a seatbelt and would still not wear one because they felt that was their right. Others complained that their seat belt did not fit them - however adjusters and extenders are available and it is not a valid excuse.
“It would appear that the majority of people do wear seatbelts, but we still need to encourage everyone to do so. This campaign has been good at raising awareness and we will continue to stop anyone who is seen not wearing a seatbelt. Remember the old saying 'Clunk Click' every trip? It’s still very relevant today.”
The seatbelt law:
It has been a legal requirement since 1983 to wear a seat belt in a car. In September 2006 new regulations were introduced governing the wearing of seatbelts in cars, vans and goods vehicles. The changes related specifically to children and how they are secured in vehicles.
You must wear a seat belt if one is fitted in the seat you’re using - there are only a few exceptions.
You’re also only allowed 1 person in each seat fitted with a seat belt.
Children must use the correct car seat for their weight until they reach 135 centimetres tall or their 12th birthday, whichever is first.
When you don't need to wear a seat belt
You don’t need to wear a seat belt if you’re:
a driver who is reversing, or supervising a learner driver who is reversing
in a vehicle being used for police, fire and rescue services
a passenger in a trade vehicle and you’re investigating a fault
driving a goods vehicle on deliveries that is travelling no more than 50 metres between stops
a licensed taxi driver who is ‘plying for hire’ or carrying passengers
Your doctor may say you don’t have to wear a seat belt for a medical reason. They’ll give you a ‘Certificate of Exemption from Compulsory Seat Belt Wearing’.
keep this in your vehicle
show it to the police if you’re stopped
You’ll also need to tell your car insurer.
Wearing a seat belt while pregnant
You must wear a seat belt if you’re pregnant, unless your doctor says you don’t have to for medical reasons.
Wearing a seat belt if you’re disabled
You must wear a seat belt if you’re a disabled driver or passenger, unless you don’t have to for medical reasons. You may need to adapt your vehicle.
If your vehicle doesn’t have seat belts
If your vehicle doesn’t have seat belts, for example it’s a classic car, you aren’t allowed to carry any children under 3 years old in it.
Children over 3 are only allowed to sit in the back seats.
These rules only apply if your vehicle was originally made without seat belts.