SPECIALIST police officers stopped over 20 motorists during an operation to raise road safety awareness.

A total of 19 people were stopped for not wearing a seat belt, seven people for using a mobile phone whilst driving and one vehicle was seized during the Ongar operation yesterday (October 26).

Epping Forest district commander Chief Inspector Alan Ray said: “We continue to focus on reducing crime, but are equally committed to reducing the number of road crashes involving fatalities or serious injuries.

“We are targeting unacceptable driver behaviour such as manner of driving, use of a mobile phone, failure to wear a seatbelt, speeding and intoxication.

“Something as simple as not wearing a seatbelt, even in a minor or low speed crash could result in a death. Air bags, when deployed, are designed to cushion a driver's face and body which is restrained by a seatbelt, by not wearing a seatbelt, the air bag could break the driver's neck. Seatbelts are the primary safety device in all vehicles.

“Whilst reducing and detecting crime, we want to try and keep people as safe as possible whilst travelling through our district.”