Published: Monday, 4th March 2019

Motorists and passengers are being encouraged to wear a seatbelt in a bid to reduce the number of people killed or injured across Kent and Medway’s roads.

Throughout March, agencies which form the Kent and Medway Casualty Reduction Group are raising awareness on how important it is to wear a seatbelt. More than 100,000 drivers and passengers in the UK last year were either killed or injured by not wearing a seatbelt.

Medway Council, which is part of the casualty reduction group, has a Road Safety team which works throughout the year to advise residents, including school children, what they can do to stay safe. Throughout the March campaign, road signs across Medway’s roads will be used to help promote road safety messages, including encouraging both drivers and their passengers to ensure they are wearing a seatbelt. The council will also be sharing road safety messages across its social media channels to help spread the word.

Medway Council’s Road Safety team delivers sessions in schools to encourage children to stay safe while walking, cycling and driving. They take the Seatbelt Sled into schools between May and July every year to educate key stage 2 children about in-car safety, including the importance of wearing a seatbelt on all car journeys.

Medway is committed

Cllr Phil Filmer, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Frontline Services, said: “Medway is committed to encouraging all pedestrians, cyclists and motorists to think about road safety and how important it is to be vigilant on our roads. We’re supporting the campaign throughout March to help reduce the amount of people killed or injured on our roads due to not wearing a seatbelt. We’ll be supporting our colleagues in the police and fire service, and will be using targeted messaging to increase awareness of how important it is for motorists and passengers to buckle up.”

You could be fined if you are caught not wearing a seatbelt.

Sgt. Mark Carron of Kent Police’s Roads Policing Unit said: ‘Life lost on the roads is a tragic waste and using a seatbelt will reduce the chances of a fatality in a collision by 50%.

“Our officers will not only be on the lookout for drivers not buckling up but they will also be paying attention to parents who put their children at risk by not using the correct booster or child seat.

“We are working with the Kent County Council Road Safety Team and the Kent and Medway Safety Camera Partnership to educate road users of the importance of wearing seatbelts.

“Our message is simple. By not wearing a seatbelt you are risking a fine, but much more seriously you are risking your own safety and could be seriously injured if involved in a collision. The driver's responsibility includes ensuring young passengers are safe and secure.”

Throughout March, Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) will be visiting schools across the county, and welcoming Kent and Medway students to the Road Safety Experience in Rochester and will educate students about the importance of wearing seatbelts whether they’re a passenger or a driver. The KFRS road safety team will also be working alongside Kent Police highlighting the effectiveness of seatbelts using the seatbelt sledge with drivers.      

Colin King, Area Manager for Prevention and Protection said: “Whether you’re a passenger or driver, your first line of defence in any collision - no matter what speed your vehicle is doing, is your seatbelt. It will help to stop you from being thrown from the vehicle. Seatbelts can make the difference between a life-changing injury or even death or recovering from a collision and enjoying the same quality of life as you had before. Our firefighters attend many road crashes where drivers and passengers haven’t been wearing their seatbelts and the consequences are life-changing; not just for those involved, but for their friends and families too.

“If one person in a vehicle doesn’t wear a seatbelt then they’re putting everyone else inside at risk in the event of a crash, and this includes dogs or things not secured, where they will be thrown around injuring the other occupants. Always wear your seatbelt – no matter how short the journey is. Not wearing your seatbelt puts everyone at risk and you’re breaking the law.”

For more information on the work of Medway Council’s Road Safety team, visit – www.medway.gov.uk/roadsafety

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