SWFRS are urging all drivers and passengers to “belt up” when travelling in vehicles on the roads of Wales, although this is the advice at all times of the year SWFRS are keen to reiterate this advice during this years All Wales Seatbelt Campaign.
Group Manager Vaughan Jenkins, Head of Road Safety for SWFRS said “All too often the emergency services see the devastation caused and in some cases the tragic loss of life in Road Traffic Collisions where passengers or drivers and sometimes children have not been wearing a seatbelt whilst travelling on the roads of South Wales. At the end of the day it takes a couple of seconds to put a seatbelt on and those couple of seconds can ultimately save your life or stop you or a loved one being killed or seriously injured, as a Fire and Rescue Service we fully support the All Wales Seatbelt campaign which was recently launched by Gwent Police on behalf of all the Welsh emergency services by teaming up with Paralympic gold medallist Josie Pearson MBE to launch this year’s All Wales Seatbelt Campaign”.
Josie sustained life changing injuries which left her paralysed as a result of a road traffic collision that occurred in Goytre, near Abergavenny in 2003. She wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.
The two-week seatbelt campaign is being run by all four Welsh police forces from 10th – 23rd March.
The aim of the campaign is not only to enforce the law of wearing a seatbelt in the front and rear of a vehicle, but also to educate, and prevent people putting their lives at risk in the first place by choosing not to belt up.
The offence of not wearing a seatbelt is one of the “fatal 5”; the five offences that cause the most deaths on our roads. The others being careless driving, speeding, drink driving, and driving while on a mobile phone. Drivers or passengers who fail to wear seatbelts could face an on the spot fine of £100 and a maximum fine of £500 if prosecuted.
Gwent’s Roads Policing Chief Inspector, Paul Evans said; “Although this campaign is partly about enforcement, education and prevention are equally, if not more important.
“Putting on a seatbelt should be second nature when getting into a vehicle, whether you are a driver or passenger. By not taking this simple step which takes seconds, you not only put your own life at risk, but also the lives of the other people in your vehicle.
“Officers will be conducting roadside and intelligence-led operations to target those who break the law, and as part of the educational side of the campaign our Collision Investigation Unit will be visiting schools across Gwent to deliver a road safety presentation.”
Although now an elite and extremely successful athlete, Josie Pearson still regrets the day when she got into a car and chose not to wear a seatbelt, she said:
“Putting on a seatbelt should just be a habit, second nature, something you do as soon as you get into a car, before you turn on the ignition.
“Yes, I have been successful and gone on to achieve great things since I had my accident, but I spent 17 years as an able bodied person and I wish I could go back to that day and not get in that car.
“Peer pressure is hugely influential, and people may think it’s cool to be like their friends and not wear a seatbelt, but it’s definitely not! Be a leader, be the sensible one, set a good example and put your belt on, it could save your life.”