Road Safety News
 

All-Wales’ seatbelt crackdown draws to a close

Friday 18th March 2016

A two-week long campaign which vowed to ‘crackdown’ on seatbelt offenders in Wales draws to a close on Sunday (20 March).

The All-Wales seatbelt campaign began on 7 March with police officers reminding people that ‘belting up can save a life’, while also warning that officers were on the lookout for those ignoring the law.

Backed by all four Welsh police forces, the campaign set out to remind drivers and passengers they can be prosecuted and fined £100 for not wearing a seatbelt, and that any child under the age of 14 years who is not wearing a seatbelt is the responsibility of the driver.

The first week of the campaign coincided with a similar Europe-wide campaign by TISPOL, the European Traffic Police Network.

Not wearing a seatbelt is one of the ‘Fatal 5’ - a collective term used by police forces in Wales to identify the five most significant contributory factors in death and serious injury collisions. The others are: drink driving, speeding, using a mobile phone whilst driving and dangerous driving.

During the 2015 campaign 1,257 people across Wales were stopped by police for not wearing their seatbelt.

Susan Storch, chair of Road Safety Wales said: "Wearing a seatbelt and using the correct child restraints is a fundamental part of road safety. Anyone flouting the law is taking an enormous and potentially fatal risk.

“Partners in Road Safety Wales continue to educate and encourage the public to adhere to the law and we fully support our police partners in this vitally important all-Wales enforcement campaign.”

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Interestingly, as we have a specific time period during which we know a specific road safety intervention has been given extra emphasis, perhaps an analyst somewhere could eventually look a the crashes in Wales for that period and see whether there was a significant decrease in KSIs (for vehicle occupants) for that period. A judgment would obviously have to be made on the severity of the impact and what might have happened had the occupants not been wearing their belts and also what we don't know is whether those people would have been wearing them anyway without the campaign. All of which shows how difficult it is to prove - purely by data - if a particular intervention is effective or not. One's instinct and common sense for knowing something is right is sometimes just as good a guide as to what works in the field of road safety and collision reduction.
Hugh Jones

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