Not wearing a seatbelt is a significant cause of car accident injuries and deaths, NSW Police has stated.
People who do not take the necessary precautions when they get behind the wheel could be risking the lives of themselves, their families and other road users. However, more than 1,800 drivers were stopped for seatbelt offences over the festive season.
This included motorists who failed to secure child passengers with a seatbelt or other suitable car seat restraint.
Traffic and Highway Patrol Command Assistant Commissioner John Hartley said the rules are very clear in regards to wearing a seatbelt and legislation has been in place for at least a generation
“It has been proven time and again, that proper use of seatbelts and occupant restraints saves people from being seriously injured or killed in crashes,” he explained.
“We teach our children to protect themselves in a car by making sure they have their seatbelt on or are in the correct car seat.”
However, he said it is “unfortunate” that the 1,800 people stopped for seatbelt-related offences had chosen to ignore this advice.
Operation Safe Arrival ends
Seatbelts were not the only item on the agenda for NSW Police this week, with the organisation’s Operation Safe Arrival campaign coming to a close.
The initiative, which began on December 19 and finished on January 4, urged people to address their reckless behaviour behind the wheel, including speeding and drunk driving.
According to NSW Police, the campaign was a success, with 250,000 more people breathalysed in 2014-15 than when the scheme was conducted the previous year. Overall, 830,670 people were tested, of which 1,273 were charged with a drink-driving offence.
“The increased number of random breath tests is a reminder that we are just as much about deterrence as detection,” Mr Hartley stated.
This year, the campaign saw the force’s fleet of police cars decked out with high-visibility markings and key campaign messages – a feature that will continue throughout the year.
“You can see us and we can see you, and that visual deterrent is more important to us than the offences we detect,” Mr Hartley added.
Despite NSW Police’s best efforts, there were still 10 deaths on the state’s roads this festive season – one less than during the previous campaign.
However, the operation ran for two days longer in 2014-15, with police monitoring drivers for 17 days rather than 15.