Seatbelt reminder for drivers

ESSEX motorists were shamed into 'belting up' after being grilled by a room full of schoolchildren.Drivers and passengers caught not wearing a seatbelt were given the option by police to pay the statutory £30 fine or face the embarrassing ordeal of being taken back to school.

ESSEX motorists were shamed into 'belting up' after being grilled by a room full of schoolchildren.

Drivers and passengers caught not wearing a seatbelt were given the option by police to pay the statutory £30 fine or face the embarrassing ordeal of being taken back to school.

In the space of just three-and-a-half hours outside Rivenhall Primary School yesterday, more than 50 people were pulled over.

Of those, only one paid the fine. The rest may have thought saving money would be the easy option, but they had another thing coming.


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Seated between two road safety officers in a special van parked in the school playground, they were forced to look into the eyes of innocent but angry young children at Rivenhall Primary School.

The youngsters wanted to know why they had not only put their own lives at risk, but also why they risked leaving their children without a father or mother.

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They read the culprits slogans they had written specially for the day. One read: "Don't leave your seatbelt by your side. If you wear it, you will arrive alive."

Essex County Council road safety officer Elaine Beckett– the brains behind the idea - said the culprits left the school grounds shamed.

"They were contrite, admonished and guilty," she said.

"They went away promising they had learned their lesson and it was all the more powerful because it was from children. We just wanted to get across to people that if it was your grandmother's china that you were transporting somewhere, you'd pack it properly so it wouldn't break.

"People need to take enough time to do the same for their child or themselves."

Although yesterday's move was done to highlight a new Government campaign, similar exercises on a more permanent basis would not be ruled out, Ms Beckett added.

The Government is spending £14million aiming to drive home to motorists the potentially horrific consequences of failing to belt up.

About four in ten adults fail to fasten their back seat belts. A three-week long television advert campaign will also be used, graphically depicting what happens to three young men when they fail to take proper precautions.

Transport minister Tony McNulty said: "Too many drivers and passengers still fail to wear a seatbelt. This campaign continues our thought-provoking publicity to try and convince them of the need to belt up - even on short trips.

"Wearing a seatbelt can save your life - I hope our new campaign will be a powerful reminder to those who seem to forget."

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