A MOTORIST who was involved in a car crash has described how he has been left scarred after failing to wear a seatbelt. Richard Hatton, 36, said he is still in pain from wounds to his face and has asked The Hunts Post to warn other drivers to take a few e

A MOTORIST who was involved in a car crash has described how he has been left scarred after failing to wear a seatbelt.

Richard Hatton, 36, said he is still in pain from wounds to his face and has asked The Hunts Post to warn other drivers to take a few extra seconds to belt up.

His warning comes in the same week as Cambridgeshire police started a week-long campaign targeting drivers who fail to belt up and handing out £30 on-the-spot fines.

Mr Hatton, from St Ives, said he ended up in a fen ditch after driving along an icy road in the dark, hitting his head on the windscreen.

"I could have died that night - I risked my life for the sake of what would have taken just five seconds. I don't know why I didn't put the belt on. As it is, I will have to live with my scars."

A manager for Phoenix Door Parts in Somersham, Mr Hatton, who also works at the George pub in the village, added: "On February 7 driving down the Somersham Fen I hit black ice, lost control of the car and ended up in the ditch. I wasn't travelling at any great speed, however, once you lose the car you really are in the lap of the gods.

"I was not wearing my seatbelt and because of this, I now have a lot of stitches to my forehead and a lot of pain. My scars will act as a reminder of my stupidity."

Mr Hatton, whose wife Tina is expecting a baby in August, said he was driving a mile and a half to fetch a friend to work in the pub.

This was his first driving accident after driving since the age of 18.

"I was taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge because they thought I might have to have plastic surgery. I could have been dead but as it is I will have to live with my scars.

"But I am lucky. The result could have been so much worse. I was also very lucky to have a fantastic wife, family and friends who have rallied round to make my recovery bearable."

The police seatbelt campaign - part of a European wide initiative - began on Monday (February 16) with officers at various locations including the Huntingdon Ring Road.

Drivers not wearing seatbelts were fined £30.

Pc Tony Barrios, casualty reduction officer, said: "In recent weeks we have experienced a lot of bad, weather-related driving conditions, yet still officers have been catching motorists not wearing a seatbelt.

"A seatbelt can mean the difference between life and death and it astonishes me that some people continue to risk their lives by not belting up."

Last year, 2,886 people were issued with £30 fixed penalty notices for not belting up.