A MAJOR crackdown on speeding drivers and seatbelt flouters will take place in Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale next week.

More than 30 police officers will take to the streets carrying out speed checks and speaking to motorists.

Officers will also be on the lookout for people who are not wearing a seatbelt and will issue on-the-spot fines to offenders.

Police will be particularly targeting ‘hot spot’ areas identified by concerned residents at community meetings.

By carrying out activities at different times of day, they hope to educate and snare as many motorists as possible.

The initiative is in response to an increase in the number of drivers and passengers being injured because they were not wearing a seatbelt.

Traders and community leaders welcomed the scheme which a number of them said could ‘save lives.’ Last year figures revealed that Lancashire Police has fined 7,902 motorists in a single year for a variety of seatbelt offences, including children under three not being strapped in at all, as well as car seats being fitted incorrectly.

The true extent of the problem was revealed in the Lancashire Telegraph’s Love Your Kids? Belt Them In campaign, which was launched in conjunction with the Lancashire Partnership for Road Safety and Blackburn with Darwen Casualty Reduction team.

Chief Inspector Ian Sewart, who is in charge of road policing in Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale, said: “We have seen substantial reductions in road casualties for over 10 years.

"However, we have recently noticed an increase in injuries where drivers or passengers have not been wearing seatbelts.

“We will not tolerate drivers who put both themselves and others at risk.”

Starting on Monday, officers in Burnley will be using ‘speed guns’ to record how fast drivers are travelling.

Motorists who exceed the limit by a small amount will be spoken to about the dangers of speeding.

In some instances, officers will be accompanied by schoolchildren who will also speak to motorists.

People caught driving far in excess of the limit will be given fixed penalty notices.

Hot spot areas identified by residents include Trinity, Daneshouse with Stoneyholme, Rosehill with Burnley Wood, Briercliffe and Bank Hall wards.

Between April 2008 and April 2009, eight died and 108 were seriously injured in accidents in the three boroughs.

Since last April, 12 people have died as a result of accidents on the road and 94 have been seriously injured.

Arif Khan, who runs a newsagent’s shop in Briercliffe Road, welcomed the scheme.

He said: “In the evening young people drive quite fast past the shop. I’m pleased with the police initiative and I support them because it could save lives.”

Briercliffe Coun Margaret Lishman said: “I am pleased to see any initiatives of this kind because speeding drivers is one of the constant concerns we hear about from residents.”