POLICE have stopped 441 people including six children not wearing seatbelts in their vehicles in Hampshire last week as part of a Eurpoe-wide crackdown.
The constabulary were taking part in a European campaign to catch those who don’t wear a seatbelt when they should do.
Since 1983 it’s been law to wear a seatbelt in a vehicle except in a few rare exceptions.
Those who were caught face a fine of up to £500 or being offered the chance to go on an awareness course as an alternative.
Officers hope by stopping them they have highlighted the danger they are putting themselves in if their vehicle is involved in a crash.
As well as the 441 stopped for seatbelt offences officers taking part in the crackdown also detected 61 other offences from using a mobile phone while driving to defective tyres and no insurance.
Hampshire’s Road Safety Officer, Sergeant Rob Heard said: “It has been surprising how many people are still not wearing their seatbelts and not really understanding the risks they are putting themselves under. The devastating injuries or possible fatal injuries you can receive from not wearing a seat belt really should encourage everyone to belt up. It is just not worth risking your life and the heartache your family will feel from your loss.
“European research shows that about 50 per cent of all car occupants that die in a fatal accident in the EU could have survived of they had worn a seatbelt.
“I have noted from the checks I have attended, that many of those caught not wearing a seatbelt are van drivers who state they wear the belts in their cars but forget to wear them in their vans when at work, sometimes because they are only travelling short distances. The law states you must wear a seatbelt unless you are driving a goods vehicle on deliveries and are travelling no more than 50 metres between stops.
“Forgetting to wear the belt is the biggest excuse we found. We have had some interesting excuses though as well. One man told us he did not want to ruin his tan. Due to the recent sunny weather he had caught a tan to his chest and felt the belt would wear some of the tan away.
"A couple of people stated they never wore a seatbelt and would still not wear one because they felt that was their right. Others complained that their seat belt did not fit them - however adjusters and extenders are available and it is not a valid excuse.
“It would appear that the majority of people do wear seatbelts, but we still need to encourage everyone to do so. This campaign has been good at raising awareness and we will continue to stop anyone who is seen not wearing a seatbelt. Remember the old saying 'Clunk Click' every trip; it’s still very relevant today.”