Belt up or face fine, warn traffic cops

ERRANT motorists flouting seatbelt and other driving laws are being hit in the pocket this week.

ERRANT motorists flouting seatbelt and other driving laws are being hit in the pocket this week.

Suffolk police is carrying out a countywide crackdown until early Sunday morning on motorists and passengers who fail to belt up or use the appropriate child restraints.

Pc Gavin Sharp is helping to enforce the purge, which is part of a European campaign aimed at road safety.

Having been in the county's traffic unit for ten years, Pc Sharp is very aware of the potentially lethal outcome if drivers refuse or forget to strap themselves in.

He said: “There are a couple of accidents I know of where people have been involved in single car accidents. When you look at the vehicle on the scene, it's a situation which has been very survivable. However, because of not wearing a seatbelt and the vehicle being overturned or on its side, the driver has been thrown out of the passenger window or the sunroof and has died.

“It's sad when members of a family have lost a loved one only because that person was not wearing a seatbelt. The family feel devastated.”

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While drivers do not always take kindly to being pulled over by officers, Pc Sharp is adamant enforcement campaigns are a good thing, even if they result in motorists getting a �30 ticket for disobeying the seatbelt law.

He said: “I think they have tremendous value. Some people think it's a petty offence and ask 'don't you have better things to do?'.

“If I think of the amount of people who are killed on Suffolk's roads within a year, by stopping a person who is not wearing a seatbelt, in my view, I can hopefully prevent a potential death.”

Among those who were stopped by Pc Sharp in Ipswich yesterday was Mandy Ewen, who was driving her silver Renault while on a mobile phone.

Although she got a �60 fine and three points on her licence, she backed the enforcement campaign.

“I think it is very important for safety. I should have been pulled over because I was using the phone, so it's my own fault.”

Are road laws tough enough? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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