The number of drivers issued fines by traffic officers for not buckling up behind the wheel in West Yorkshire has fallen by nearly one third.
A YEP investigation has revealed that thousands of drivers are still refusing to buckle up on the region’s roads when they get behind the wheel.
West Yorkshire Police officers issued 4,100 drivers in the county with fixed penalty notices for not wearing their seat belts over the last year.
But figures show that officers handed out 6,546 fines to motorists in the previous year – between January 2011 and December 2011.
The Police Federation claims that changes to the force, including cuts to the numbers of officers on the region’s roads, could have played a part in the decrease.
But chairman of West Yorkshire’s Police Federation Jon Christopher said the decrease could also be a result of better road safety education and drivers being more aware of the consequences if they don’t use their seat belts.
Mr Christopher told the YEP: “There are a number of factors for the figures.
“Roads policing has lost quite a large amount of officers from the establishment to be streamlined.”
He said that the fall in offences could be representative of where the 20 per cent of cuts are “starting to bite”.
But Mr Christopher added: “I don’t think there is one particular reason.
“It could be that the education aspect has got home.
“It’s a £30 fine and if you have not got that it’s a massive amount of money.
“People put their seat belts on and maybe that message is getting home.”
Police issued 483 fines to motorists last year for minors not wearing seat belts in their vehicles.
But during the previous year 602 fixed penalty notices were handed out.
Around 180 drivers have been fined for not having their children in the correct booster seats in 2012 but officers handed out 245 fines the previous year.
Mr Christopher added: “Road traffic officers go to accidents where people have serious injuries because they don’t have their seat belts on.”
This year marks the 30th anniversary of seat belt legislation.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents claims that over 60,000 lives have been saved after drivers were forced to buckle up.
Kathleen Braidwood, road safety officer at RoSPA, said: “We must continue to make drivers and passengers aware of the importance of seat belt use.
“No matter how low the speed at which you are travelling or how short the journey, accidents still happen.”