Motorists and passengers who do not buckle up when travelling in a vehicle were targeted in a day of action carried out by Police Scotland.
Police officers across the country were involved in the initiative last week which was aimed at ‘Keeping People Safe’ on Scotland’s roads by targeting offences related to the use of seat belts and child restraints.
The initiative is part of Police Scotland’s year-round commitment to reducing the number of casualties on roads and supports a wider pan-European seat belt campaign.
It is estimated that one in three people killed as a result of their vehicle being involved in a collision were not wearing a seat belt and that half of those people could have been saved if they had worn one.
Since April 1, this year, Police Scotland has detected more than 18,000 people who were not wearing a seatbelt or who failed to properly restrain a child in a vehicle.
Inspector Calum Maider, of the divisional road policing unit for Lanarkshire, said: “It’s unacceptable that drivers and passengers are prepared to risk their lives by failing to wear a seatbelt.
“Please understand that when a vehicle strikes an object and stops, any unsecured items will travel forward at the speed which the vehicle had been travelling prior to the collision. This includes shopping, pets, passengers and children.
“Modern vehicles are designed to ensure that the seatbelt slows ones forward travel and pulls you down into the seat away from the airbag. As an experienced road policing officer, I have seen people suffer serious injuries in low speed collisions as they haven’t been wearing a seatbelt and that has caused them to come into contact with the airbag as it inflates.
“The issue is not just the possibility of sustaining a life changing injury but also the financial impact of a £100 fine. It is unbelievable that a person will put shopping in the boot to prevent it from rolling around and becoming damaged but will then fail to secure their children.”
He continued: “The responsibility for the safety of all passengers lies firmly with the driver who must ensure that all passengers are safely secured prior to starting their journey.
“There is no excuse which can be given or any that will be accepted for failing to do so and I will ensure that all officers under my supervision are carrying out robust enforcement.
“The consequences could be fatal and certainly far more serious than if you were wearing a seatbelt.”
According to Road Safety Scotland, your risk of a fatal injury is reduced by 50 per cent when you wear a seatbelt. They are described as ‘the single most effective feature in the car to fulfil this role.’ Meanwhile, all other safety features in cars, such as airbags, are only designed to work when the occupant is wearing a seatbelt.
He added: “It could not be clearer - seat belts save lives. Wear your seat belt and ensure all passengers and children carried in the vehicle are properly restrained. Keep them safe - Don’t Risk It!”