SOUTH Wales Fire and Rescue Service, along with Gwent Police and Blaenau Gwent Council’s Road Safety Team, have been out in force educating residents on the importance of wearing seatbelts.

On Thursday, officers undertook an operation in Tredegar aimed at drivers not using their seatbelts.

The aim of the safety initiative is to inform drivers of the dangers and consequences of not wearing a seatbelt. The objective is to reduce the number of those killed or seriously injured on our roads.

A council spokeswoman said: “Choosing not to wear a seatbelt can be a fatal decision even on short, familiar journeys and at low speeds.

“It is illegal not to wear a seatbelt when travelling in a car or goods vehicle and it is the responsibility of the driver to ensure all passengers under the age of 14 are wearing a seatbelt or child restraint.”

During the operation, a number of vehicles were stopped by the police as the drivers were not wearing a seat belt.

Offenders were given the option of either taking a £100 fine or attending a 30 minute presentation on the consequences of not wearing a seatbelt delivered by Dave Latham, regional road safety co-ordinator at South Wales Fire and Rescue Service.

Without a seatbelt, in a collision drivers and passengers can be thrown forward with a force of between 30 to 60 times their own bodyweight and are 1,300 times more likely to receive C-Spine injuries.

While the back seat is the safest place to ride in a car, unrestrained back passengers risk serious injury and pose a potentially fatal threat to other passengers during a crash.

Cllr David White, Blaenau Gwent Council’s executive member for environment and regeneration said: “Many reasons are given for not wearing a seatbelt such as being in a hurry or only going on a short trip. However, none of these excuses suffice.

Not wearing a seatbelt can have devastating consequences.

Operation Options highlights the importance of drivers and passengers being properly restrained on every journey.”

For more information about the proper use of seat belts and child car seats, contact the Blaenau Gwent Road Safety Team on 01495 355361.