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Belt-up blitz for North Yorkshire

[Monday 19 February 2007]
car seats test
Police to enforce child safety law

A WEEK-LONG blitz on seatbelt offences kicks off from today across North Yorkshire.

Extra police patrols and county-wide surprise static checks will see Road Policing officers concentrate on what they describe as an elementary road safety measure that can mean the difference between life and death.

"It takes less than two seconds to put your belt on, perhaps a few seconds more to buckle up your young child," said Road Policing Inspector Chris Charlton. "Yet people will risk death, pain and mutilation just for the sake of saving those few seconds. I don't know why people will take that gamble, but I do know that we can make a difference with a series of intensive operations mixing friendly advice with tough enforcement."

Beside the extra patrols by officers in cars and on motorcycles - one of the best ways of spotting seatbelt offenders - there will be a series of stop-checks at undisclosed locations on roads across North Yorkshire.

Officers will be looking for all types of breach of the seatbelt laws, including the new legislation requiring children under 13 and below 1.35 metres to use an appropriate child restraint.

we will not hesitate to apply the full force of the law when dealing with those selfish fools who think they have the right to jeopardise their own or other people's welfare and safety

Inspector Chris Charlton - North Yorkshire Police

Coming just a week after the force was criticised by road safety charities for not enforcing the law, North Yorkshire Police now say its officers have been trained in dealing with the new law and the practical aspects of enforcing it.

"Remember that passengers aged 14 years and older are responsible for their own actions, but drivers are responsible not only for themselves but also any passengers aged 13 and under," said Insp Charlton.

Penalties for seatbelt offences range from a £30 fixed penalty ticket to a £500 fine. But, added Insp Charlton, the real penalty can be far higher - injury or even death. "With that in mind we are not inclined to treat offences lightly. As ever, officers will give advice or guidance where that is appropriate, but we will not hesitate to apply the full force of the law when dealing with those selfish fools who think they have the right to jeopardise their own or other people's welfare and safety."

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