POLICE find several children a week unrestrained or not restrained properly in cars across the North.
Veteran crash investigator Senior Sergeant Nick Clark said incorrect seatbelt use had become a major issue in recent years – and children were frequently being put at risk.
The revelation comes following the launch of Tasmania Police’s Seatbelts Save Lives campaign, aimed at raising awareness about the device’s correct use, following the death of four people from seatbelt-related road fatalities in the North last financial year.
“At least once or twice a week officers are pulling over cars where children aren’t restrained correctly,” Senior Sergeant Clark said.
“And there’s been instances where children are actually jumping around in the backseat – I’ve seen it in my career as well. (It) causes great concern, because if that child is in a car that has to stop suddenly, that child will become a missile in that car and the result can only be catastrophic.”
Senior Sergeant Clark said he had seen multiple instances where a person had died, or suffered a serious internal injury, because they were slumped in the car instead on being seated upright at the time of a crash.
He said seatbelts were intended to be worn securely across the waist – and having the belt across the stomach can rupture internal organs, causing someone to bleed out, during a crash.
He urged all motorists familiarise themselves with correct seatbelt use.
“We see that often in child seats – people aren’t strapping their children in properly. We encourage people to take the time.
“There are various websites out there that give advice in relation to properly fitted child restraints. The RACT gives some great advice in relation to it,” Senior Sergeant Clark said.
Seatbelts Save Lives will see police across the state promote awareness about correct seatbelt use via public message boards, social media and traditional media, over the next nine months.
Police will also be patrolling a number of roads in the North, targeting seatbelt offences.
The goal is to see an increase in the number of people observed correctly wearing their seatbelts and a reduction in fatalities.
The first public message board in the North has been placed on the West Tamar Highway in the Riverside/Trevallyn area.