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How the way you wear your seatbelt could save your life; Changing the way you wear your seatbelt could save your life and help you avoid a PS100 fine. Tyler Mears reports...

Byline: Tyler Mears

I WAS pulled over by the police on Tuesday morning.

I wasn't speeding, I didn't run any red lights and I wasn't driving like Jeremy Clarkson in a Ferrari.

The reason I was pulled over - along with a number of other motorists driving past Tonypandy fire station in the Rhondda - was because I was wearing my seatbelt incorrectly.

Rather than wearing the top strap over my chest and shoulder (like I should have been) I was wearing it under my arm.

As naive as it may sound, before this, I had no idea this was illegal. Don't get me wrong, I knew it wasn't the right way to wear it, but I didn't know it's pretty much the same as not wearing a seatbelt at all.

As part of a road safety initiative to raise awareness about this issue, police officers, firefighters and council officials pulled over a number of motorists in the Rhondda Cynon Taff area.

The initiative reminds motorists of the law and teaches them that they are risking lives by not wearing seatbelts. We were all given a choice of either paying a PS100 fixed penalty notice or watching a short video about the importance of wearing a seatbelt correctly. I chose the latter.

The road safety message was delivered by a firefighter who talked about his experiences of attending road traffic accidents and collisions, where people had not been wearing their seatbelt correctly.

His accounts included some distressing stories of motorists and passengers who had killed family members, or who had died unnecessarily, due to not wearing a seatbelt or wearing one incorrectly. He explained how underarm use of shoulder belts may result in serious or fatal injuries - including severed arms, punctured lungs, internal organ damage and death. We were then shown a number of graphic videos, which showed the reality of car crashes and what can happen if you don't wear a seatbelt correctly. And believe me, they were very hard to watch.

The presentation included images of deceased people in morgues with broken necks who had died as a result of not wearing a seatbelt.

It also included information about the number of deaths caused by this issue in Wales, and the statistics are frighteningly high. In 2016, there were more than 100 fatalities as a result of not wearing a seatbelt in Wales and by 2017, around 150. Those statistics could so easily include me or you, our children or grandparents, friends or family.

What's more important? Spending an extra few seconds putting your belt on correctly, or spending the rest of our lives regretting it? By law, if drivers or passengers are caught without a seatbelt they could face a fine of PS100 or up to PS500 if taken to court.

Drivers are also responsible for ensuring children up to 14 wear seatbelts. Head of road safety at South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, group manager Neil Davies, said: "You are twice as likely to die if you do not wear a seatbelt whilst driving a motor vehicle."


How you should be wearing your seatbelt

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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:May 24, 2018
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