Police are warning drivers in Devon and Cornwall not to carry more passengers than their cars can take, after handing out 80 penalty tickets for the offence in the last year.
Cars have been found with passengers in the boot and lying in the footwell by officers in the two counties.
The offence carries a penalty of three points on a driver’s licence and a £60 fine.
The warning was issued to highlight the dangers of drivers carrying an excess number of passengers in their vehicles. Officers are concerned at a worrying trend of drivers giving lifts to more passengers than a vehicle has seatbelts for.
There is particular concern at the number of younger drivers breaking the law in this way.
PC John Larcombe-Ford said: “We have found people in boots, lying across floor-wells and often with three people across the rear seat when there are only two seatbelts.
“In any impact, unrestrained passengers in the vehicle will sustain serious injuries even at low speed and potentially inflict very serious injuries on those who are properly restrained.”
In the past 12 months, Devon and Cornwall Police have issued around 80 fixed penalty tickets for this type of offence.
One recent case involved a young woman who will now have her licence revoked, having already received three points for speeding in her first year of driving.
“The consequence of this will have a far-reaching impact for her and her family, not to mention the increased cost of insurance, together with the hassle and cost of having to re-take her driving test,” added PC Larcombe-Ford.
“I would urge everyone to think very carefully about how many people they carry in their vehicles.”