Drivers in Leicester fined £60 for not wearing seatbelts and using mobile phones in police crackdown
Police yesterday got tough with motorists who commit the offences most commonly linked to death or serious injury on the road.
Forty-five drivers or passengers were fined for failing to wear a seatbelt or using a mobile phone while at the wheel.
Police have staged operations during the past 18 months to educate motorists about those offences and the two other leading causes of accidents – speeding and drinking and driving.
The Fatal 4 campaign has seen about 1,000 drivers pulled over and spoken to about basic road safety.
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Yesterday, officers patrolling Leicester's inner ring road began handing out £60 fines and, where required by law, penalty points on licences. Vehicles were escorted to St George's Retail Park, where the fines were handed out.
Anna Sztaba was fined £60 for driving without a seatbelt after she had dropped off her son for his first day at school.
The 31-year-old, who lives off Tudor Road, Leicester, said: "I know the consequences of not wearing a seatbelt and I will make sure I don't do this again.
"This was a happy day because I was taking my son to school for the first time. I have learned the lesson the hard way."
Ksiazyk Przemyslaw, 29, was pulled over when police saw his girlfriend, 26-year-old Emilia Cichocka in the back of the car not wearing a seatbelt. She was fined £60.
Mr Przemyslaw said: "It's a lot of money for her to pay to learn a lesson, but it's a good lesson."
Between 8am and 12.30pm, 43 drivers or passengers were fined £60 for not belting up. Two more were pulled over for using their phones while driving.
That offence also carries a £60 fine and three penalty points.
Nobody was caught speeding or drinking and driving during the operation.
Graham Compton, of the road policing unit, said: "We have been trying to change drivers' behaviour by advising them and not punishing them.
"We have changed tack now and moved over to enforcement.
"Regrettably there are still plenty of drivers who have refused to heed the message. The police and other emergency services deal with far too many cases of drivers and passengers being seriously injured or killed because of one of the four factors we are dealing with."
Pc Kev Marsh, who was taking part in yesterday's operation, said: "I've worked in the road policing unit for nine-and-a-half years and I've seen the consequences of numerous fatal road traffic collisions.
"I've heard a lot of excuses in my time, but people need to realise how crucial our road safety message is."
Lynn Rowe, a road safety officer with Leicester City Council, said: "It was mainly seatbelts on this occasion and, in a couple of cases, it was parents who had not adequately strapped children in.
"People are leaving with fines today, but we hope they understand we are doing this because we are concerned about them."
Further ticketing operations are planned.