'Options' in the Rhondda
Joint partnership working between Rhondda Cynon Taf’s road safety unit, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service and South Wales Police, enables the pro-active delivery of “Options” operations in the Rhondda.
Drivers and passengers, who are seen not wearing a seatbelt in their vehicles are stopped by the Police and given the option of immediately attending an educational session with South Wales Fire and Rescue Service’s road safety unit, or accepting a fixed penalty notice.
Those drivers stopped for using a mobile phone behind the wheel are dealt with via a £200 fine and 6 penalty points on their licence. Whilst stopped, many vehicles are checked for roadworthiness and insurance and where appropriate vehicles are seized.
Operation Options aims is to educate people on the dangers of not wearing a seatbelt. Whilst the vast majority of car occupants do buckle up when travelling, a small minority still decide to take the risk, despite 30 years of seatbelt legislation and warnings that you are twice as likely to die in a crash if you are not using a seatbelt.
Even on short, familiar journeys and at low speed, not wearing a seatbelt can be a fatal decision. The penalty is an on the spot fine of £100 or a fine of up to £500 if the matter results in a court appearance. Drivers are also responsible for ensuring that passengers under the age of 14 are wearing a seatbelt, or using the correct child restraint for their height and age.
Since January, through Operation Options over 220 people in the area have received a poignant reminder from the Fire and Rescue Service to buckle up. Multiple fines and penalty points have been issued for the use of a mobile phone while driving and amongst other offences six vehicles have been taken off the road for having no insurance.