That is the message officers will be giving to drivers as part of a two-week campaign to raise awareness of the importance of wearing a seatbelt. 

The National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) campaign begins on Monday, May 31, across the UK.

As part of their daily patrols officers will particularly focus on drivers and their passengers who are not wearing seatbelts.

The aim of the campaign is to educate people on the dangers of ignoring the law, and where police think it appropriate, they will take enforcement action.

From 2016 to 2020, 147 people were injured across the Cleveland and Durham force areas because they were not wearing their seatbelt.

Of these, 41 were seriously injured and ten people lost their lives.

Those aged 17 to 34 and men were the most likely groups to be injured as a result of not wearing their seatbelt.

Legislation states that drivers are responsible for ensuring that suitable safety restraints are worn by all passengers under 14 years old. Passengers over 14 years old are responsible for wearing their own seatbelt and can therefore face prosecution.

Children must use an appropriate child car restraint for their weight until they are 135cm tall, or their 12th birthday, whichever is first.

Failure to wear a seatbelt carries a fine of £100. If prosecuted, the maximum fine could be anything up to £500.

Strategic inspector Dave Williams, from Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit, said: “In a crash you would be twice as likely to die without wearing a seatbelt and not doing so not only puts you at risk, but your passengers and other road users as well.

“This campaign is primarily about education, but we will not hesitate to take enforcement action where it is appropriate.

“All too often our roads policing officer’s deal with collisions where seatbelts have not been worn, and they have to deliver the horrendous news to a family that their loved one has been killed.

“The fact that their life may have been saved had they been wearing a seatbelt causes further heartbreak.

“Wearing a seatbelt has been a legal requirement for more than 30 years. This is nothing new but we are still seeing the devastating consequences of people ignoring this vital safety measure.

“Please take that extra 30 seconds to put your seatbelt on. It could save your life.”