MORE than half the children being driven to some Huddersfield schools are not wearing seatbelts, it has been revealed.
Police are shocked at the number of parents so willing to put their children's lives at risk.
The figures emerged during road safety surveys outside schools by Kirklees highways safety officers.
The survey has led to a joint safety campaign by Kirklees Council and the police, called Safety Outside Schools - SOS for short.
From 3,400 children counted outside schools, almost half were travelling without a seatbelt.
On one day alone outside Crosland Moor Junior School and neighbouring Dryclough Infants School they found 248 children not wearing seatbelts.
By comparison, 171 were wearing seatbelts.
In the streets surrounding Reinwood junior and infants schools at Oakes 258 children were not wearing belts, as against 336 who were.
Sgt Andy Addy, of Huddersfield traffic police, said: "The results of these surveys are staggering.
"It's amazing that parents care deeply about their children's health and safety - yet go driving around with them not wearing seatbelts.
"I've been to some horrendous crashes involving children. One was where a young girl was catapulted through a windscreen.
"Modern windscreens are now laminated and if children are flung against them it is like hitting a metal barrier," he added.
"It can lead to terrible head injuries on top of the other broken bones caused by them being thrown around inside the car."
Sgt Addy said the SOS campaign had been running outside schools since the end of last year, mainly involving police giving advice.
That will now change. Parents caught breaking road safety laws face being fined and getting penalty points on their licences.
The campaign will go on into March. It also includes the Dewsbury area, which includes Mirfield and Ravensthorpe.
Extra cash from Kirklees Council for the scheme means extra police and traffic wardens will be patrolling outside schools during the morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up times.
They will also be clamping down on parents who park on zig-zag lines, School Keep Clear markings and on pavements or double yellow lines.
"Parents who do this are putting the lives of other people in danger," said Sgt Addy. "Recently, we have had several near-misses outside schools, caused by this selfish parking that causes obstructions and cuts visibility for pedestrians and other drivers.
"We also come across cars with too many children in them and youngsters not in the car booster or child seats they need."
The Kirklees Cabinet member responsible for the environment and transport, Clr David Payne, said: "It is shocking that so many children are being put at risk for the sake of a few moments.
"All drivers are responsible for ensuring any passengers under the age of 14 are safely restrained," he added.