‘BELT up’ is the message from police to drivers across the Cardigan area.

The Dyfed-Powys force has teamed up with the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) to support a three-week nationwide seatbelt campaign #StandingUpForBeltingUp.

And officers across Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire will be out in force to ensure drivers take notice.

You are not only breaking the law by not wearing a seatbelt, but it can be a fatal decision even on short, familiar journeys and at low speeds. The message is clear – belt up, you’re twice as likely to die if you don’t.

Drivers and passengers aged 17-34 have the lowest seat belt-wearing rates, combined with the highest accident rate, while people are less likely to use seat belts on short or familiar journeys – putting them at serious risk of injury in a crash.

Superintendent Clark Jones-John, head of specialist operations at Dyfed-Powys Police, said: “Wearing a seatbelt really can mean the difference between life and death, and remember it only takes three seconds to put on a seatbelt.

“Three seconds that could save you and your passengers’ lives on every trip. We have heard every excuse for not wearing one, and it is incredible that people are still choosing to risk their lives and the lives of others.

“Wearing a seatbelt is such a simple act and one of the most important safety features in a vehicle.

“A collision can happen at any time, even on short, familiar journeys and at low speeds. And it is essential that everyone in the vehicle wears a seatbelt, not just the driver. It’s simple – belt up, you’re twice as likely to die if you don’t.”

As a driver you are 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. The penalty for not wearing a seatbelt is a £100 on-the-spot fine. If prosecuted, the maximum fine is £500.

And think about protecting your most precious cargo - the law requires all children travelling in the front or rear seat of any car, van or goods vehicle to use the correct child car seat until they are either 135 cm in height or 12 years old (whichever they reach first). After this they must use an adult seatbelt. There are very few exceptions.

It is the driver's responsibility to ensure that children under the age of 14 years are restrained correctly in accordance with the law. There are many different types of child car seat available so take your time when choosing.

Visit shops and look around on websites to get a good idea of what seats are available and which ones are likely to be the most suitable for your child and your car. For more information visit www.childcarseats.org.uk.