A NEW crackdown on seatbelt use has been launched in West Yorkshire.
And stars from Huddersfield Giants helped get the campaign off to a flying start, along with rescue services.
West Yorkshire’s emergency services, councils and NHS have joined forces to launch the Seat Belt On? campaign across the county.
Luke Robinson and Shaun Lunt were backed by other players from Castleford Tigers, Halifax Blue Sox, Bradford Bulls and Hunslet Hawks.
The Seat Belt On? project was first launched as a pilot in Calderdale two years ago and since then the number of people killed or seriously injured on the borough’s roads has dropped by 30%.
Road Safety Minister Jim Fitzpatrick MP has backed the campaign and said he hoped the same success will now be repeated throughout the rest of West Yorkshire.
Seat Belt On? signs have been placed at roadside locations around West Yorkshire and in the months to come there will be a determined effort to ensure drivers and passengers belt up.
Councils will continue to promote the seat belt message in school assemblies across the county to encourage young people to wear and promote seatbelt use among their family and their peers.
The West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service will hold a series of staged extrication events to encourage community members into wearing their seatbelts, front and back, and on every journey.
Seat belt pledge cards will be signed by young people and mounted in prominent local areas, encouraging people to wear seatbelts.
Police will stage ‘enforcement days’ and will punish drivers seen without seatbelts.
Brian Robson, Senior Community Safety Officer for West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “This is the first time that partners from the emergency services and local authorities have come together to promote an important road safety issue.
“Seat Belt On? will raise awareness of road safety through education and publicity to all age groups from the very young to the oldest drivers and passengers on our roads.”
Chief Insp Bob Wilkinson, Head of Roads Policing for West Yorkshire Police, said: “Using education and enforcement we want to achieve sustained seat belt compliance in order to promote casualty reduction.
“It is important that everyone wears seat belts when travelling in a car. Don’t be complacent and put yours or your passengers’ lives at risk.”
Dr Alison Walker, Medical Director at Yorkshire Ambulance Service and Yorkshire Air Ambulance, said: “We attend thousands of road traffic collisions each year and our frontline staff are often faced with treating patients who have horrific injuries.
“In the majority of cases, the injuries sustained by a person not wearing a seat belt are far more serious than those of someone who is belted in.
“The message is clear: wearing a seat belt saves lives and reduces injuries.”