Police crackdown on vehicle seatbelt use

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Police will be carrying out a crackdown on any driver or passenger not wearing a seat belt from Monday March 11).

They will be carrying out enforcement checks across Sussex to make sure road users are complying with the law and wearing seatbelts.

Sussex Police’s Road Policing Unit is running the campaign alongside a TISPOL Europe-wide campaign and in conjunction with the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership.

Chief Inspector Phil Nicholas of Sussex Police’s Road Policing Unit said: “There is evidence that people are less likely to use seatbelts on short of familiar journeys. By doing this they are placing themselves at risk of serious injury in a collision.

“Any driver or passenger who fails to wear a seatbelt in a vehicle is breaking the law. Drivers caught without a seatbelt face on-the-spot fines of £60. If prosecuted, the maximum fine is £500, however the consequences could be much greater if you are involved in a collision.

Alongside the enforcement a number of events will be taking place across the county to educate people about the dangers of not wearing a seatbelt.

During 2012 Sussex Police issued 4,017 £60 fixed penalty notices for seat belt offences.

This month, Sussex Police is also joining some other forces around the country in offering educational courses for some road offences. The ‘Your Belt - Your Life’ seatbelt educational course is being launched in Sussex to coincide with the enforcement campaign. The course has been developed nationally and will be offered to people as an alternative to a fine for not wearing a seatbelt.

The course has already run in other areas of the country since April 2012 and Sussex Police is now adopting this. It is run as an online course or via a workbook sent to people’s homes. The course participant must pay £36 to take part as an alternative to a £60 fine for not wearing a seatbelt.

Other courses to be made available include a ‘Driving 4 Change’ course aimed at drivers who display careless or under performance while driving, and a ‘What’s Driving Us course which is aimed at producing safer and more responsible attitudes towards driving.

Both these courses can only be offered if the behaviour hasn’t resulted in a collision. There is also ‘RIDE’ which is a course designed for motorcyclists who have been involved in a road collision as a result of their carelessness.

Chief Inspector Nicholas said: “Speed awareness courses are already offered by Sussex Police to people who are caught speeding and we have seen that the course produces positive changes in attitudes about speeding. It is hoped that these further courses would provide similar results.”