Police crackdown on road users who refuse to wear a seatbelt, South Australia

Police will be targeting road users who refuse to wear a seatbelt during Operation Belt Up, which launched at 12:01am this morning.

Failure to wear a seatbelt is one of the leading causes of death and serious injuries on our roads with vehicle occupants 10 times more likely to be killed in a crash if they are not wearing a seatbelt.

Despite this information and repeated warnings from police, some motorists still aren’t wearing a seatbelt. In 2019, 16 people were not wearing a restraint at the time of a fatal crash, and in 2020 so far two people have been killed in a crash while not wearing a seatbelt.

Ill-fitting child restraints are also an issue for police, with research suggesting that some children are being moved into bigger car seats, or are prematurely graduating to seatbelts when this is not appropriate for their size.

These children are exposed to a greater risk of injury and a child that is properly secured in an approved child restraint is less likely to be injured or killed in a car crash than a child who is not.

Operation Belt Up was last conducted last year from September 9 to 11 where a total of 122 detections were recorded across the state through a combination of traffic infringements and cautions.

Superintendent Bob Gray, Officer in Charge of the Traffic Services Branch, hopes all drivers and passengers buckle up this time around.

“Seatbelts and child restraints serve a very important purpose,” he said.

“The point of Operation Belt Up is to reduce fatal and serious injury collisions through effective enforcement.

“We also want to continue to educate all motorists and passengers about the importance of buckling up, and this operation helps give us a public platform to do that.

“Police would also like to remind the public that even though we have temporarily suspended static RBT operations, we are still out there on our roads targeting bad behaviour, and this operation is just one example of that.

“Our priority is to balance road safety needs with the health risks associated with COVID-19 for operational police officers and the community more broadly.

“But we want to be very clear: every police officer in every police car is able to pull over any driver at any time for a mobile alcohol or drug test, and we will be doing that.

“So wear your seatbelt, be responsible behind the wheel, and do not become complacent on our roads.”

Operation Belt Up will conclude at 11:59pm on Sunday 22 March.

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