School run drivers putting young lives at risk

More than 140 people were caught not wearing their seatbelt during the school run in a police crackdown.

More than 140 people were caught not wearing their seatbelt during the school run in a police crackdown.

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More than 140 people were caught not wearing their seatbelt during the school run in a police crackdown.

​A week-long crackdown on drivers who flout seatbelt laws across Cleveland and Durham found parents and carers putting young lives at risk on the school run.

A total of 142 people were found not to be wearing seatbelts during the operation, which took place across Cleveland and Durham from Monday, September 12.

Officers found five children travelling on the school run were not properly strapped in, including one child under the age of three.

Under current legislation, 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.

Inspector Phil Grieve, from the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit, said: “Putting your own safety at risk by not wearing a seatbelt is bad enough, however, when you take that risk with children who are especially vulnerable it is entirely unacceptable.

“It is beyond belief that despite our warnings, we are still seeing people who think it’s okay to risk their safety and the safety of others by not wearing a seatbelt. It takes just seconds to put a seatbelt on.

“We don’t want to have to tell anyone that their loved one has been killed in a collision where wearing a seatbelt could have saved them.

“The results of this campaign have highlighted the real dangers that people are putting themselves in and we will continue with these operations to ensure that we keep people as safe as we possibly can on our roads.”

There were 54 child deaths in 2015, one more than in 2014. It has been identified that the majority of car seats across the UK are incorrectly fitted, where two in every three are not fitted properly. This may be contributing to the continuing rise in child road death and injury.

In a crash at 30mph, if you are unrestrained your body will hit anything in front of you with a force equivalent to 30 to 60 times your own body weight.

Failing to wear a seatbelt carries a penalty of £100, should motorists be given an on-the-spot fine. Prosecution can lead to a maximum fine of up to £500.