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Belt up or risk fine, say police.

POLICE officers in the West Midlands are to mount a vigil outside schools and fine drivers whose children are not wearing seat belts as part of a major clunk-click campaign.

Coventry's road safety officers have thrown their weight behind the Tusk Force campaign to ensure children belt up in the back.

The campaign launch at Birmingham Children's Hos-pital today follows on the heels of a hard-hitting television campaign showing in graphic detail what happens when unrestrained rear passengers are involved in a car accident.

Road safety units will promote education of the dangers and police forces are warning they will fine drivers who do not have their children secured by a seat belt in the back.

It is the responsibility of a driver to ensure that children travelling in a car are properly restrained by a correctly-fitted seat belt, but many still do not, claiming the children unstrap themselves.

According to official research, in a 30mph collision, an unrestrained child in the rear seat is likely to hit the driver or front seat passenger with the force of 3 tons, the equivalent to being charged by a baby elephant.

Unrestrained passengers could suffer chest injuries, broken bones, facial wounds, skull fractures or abdominal injuries and are likely to cause serious, or even fatal injuries to the passenger in front.

It is estimated that each year 40 front seat passengers die as a result of being hit by an unrestrained rear passenger.

Schools are to be given posters and stickers promoting the Tusk Force campaign.

The fixed penalty for not wearing a seat belt is a pounds 20 fine or pounds 500 if the case goes to court.
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Author:Cunningham, Catherine
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Feb 29, 2000
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