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4,017 fines for not wearing seatbelts across Sussex
One motorist every two hours is being fined in Sussex for not wearing a seatbelt – two decades after they became compulsory.
Sussex Police has confirmed it issued 4,017 on-the-spot fines for seatbelt offences in 2012.
The news – which works out at £240,000 of fines – comes as the force embarks on a week-long campaign to crackdown on those not obeying the law.
Those caught can now also opt for an educational course as an alternative to the fine.
Chief Inspector Phil Nicholas, of Sussex Police’s Road Policing Unit, said: “There is evidence that people are less likely to use seatbelts on short, familiar journeys.
“By doing this they are placing themselves at risk of serious injury in a collision.
“If prosecuted, the maximum fine is £500. However the consequences could be much greater if you are involved in a collision.”
From yesterday (March 11), officers from Sussex Police were carrying out enforcement checks across the county.
It forms part of a wider European campaign.
Alternative to fine
For the first time, Sussex Police will offer the Your Belt, Your Life course as an alternative to a fine for not wearing a seatbelt.
The participant must pay £36 to take part as an alternative to a £60 fine for not wearing a seatbelt.
Other courses for motorists and cyclist who are careless when driving will also be offered soon.
Chief Inspector Nicholas said: “Speed awareness courses are already offered by Sussex Police to people who are caught speeding and we have seen that the course produces positive changes in attitudes about speeding.
“It is hoped that these further courses would provide similar results."
In 2011, more than 600 fixed penalty notices were issued in the week-long campaign.
This compared to 395 fixed penalty notices issued for the same campaign in 2010.
Neil Hopkins, of Sussex Safer Roads Partnership, said the overwhelming majority of drivers do wear a seatbelt at all times due to the decades of national and local campaigning.
Mr Hopkins said: “There are a very small number of drivers who take to the roads without their seatbelt - whether that's through momentary omission or a conscious decision not to wear one.
“These courses are designed to highlight the issue and act as a reminder of the importance of being belted in at all times - we're all aware of the tragedy that can occur even in relatively minor collisions if someone isn't belted in.”
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