Increase in people driving without seatbelts

Tuesday February 7th 2023


Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

The number of Midlothian drivers caught not wearing seatbelts increased by nearly 500% over the last three months of last year, police have revealed.

Police said there had also been a significant rise in penalties issued for using mobile phones at the wheel and speeding, while the number of drink driving offences rose by 28%.

A report on incidents between October to December put the rise in offences down to road safety work carried out by community officers and the Midlothian Community Action Team (MCAT) .

It revealed that the number of drivers caught without a seatbelt on rose from a five year average of 5.6 to 33 during the third quarter of the year – a rise of 489%.

Drivers fines for using their phones rose from 18.4 to 51, a 177% increase while speeding fines went from 19.8 to 53, a 167% increase.

The report to Midlothian Police, Fire and Rescue Board, said: “There have been significant increase in penalties issued for use of mobile phones, speeding and seat belt offences.

“This relates overwhelmingly to speeding and road safety issues undertaken by community officers and the MCAT.

“In response to complaints from the community a number of initiatives have been run, in particular outside schools and in areas where vehicles are prohibited at school drop off times.

“Following periods of education there have thereafter been periods of enforcement which accounts to a high degree for the increase in these detected offences.”

The report goes on to reveal incidents of drink or drug driving had risen by 28% in the last quarter compared to its five year average with 117 incidents recorded.

It adds: “This may relate to the time during covid when there were less people undertaking such activity and to the increased powers officers have to detect drug driving.”

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