By Charlotte McParland 
BELLEVILLE –The Ontario Provincial Police’s East Region  force has charged almost 1,000 people in half a month with sizable fines for neglecting to wear a seatbelt.
The force’s East Region is a large area that stretches from the Quebec border all the way north to the southern edges of Algonquin Park and west to Quinte West.
The campaign aimed to raise awareness about the safety and importance of being properly buckled up.
Daniel Redmond, commander of the East Region, says it’s important for everyone to wear a seatbelt.
“Wearing a seatbelt could save you from more than just a ticket – it just might save your life,” he says in a press release from the OPP .
The police call a campaign like this a “blitz” because it focuses on catching and fining a lot of people in a short period of time. This one lasted 17 days and 981 people were fined for failing to wear a seatbelt.
Kyle Knapp, a student from Prescott, Ont., was one of the people charged. He was given a $240 fine and says he’ll now never forget to buckle up.
“After that fine, it really kicked in that I made a mistake. I’ll never forget to wear my seat belt now. It sucked,” Knapp said.
“I was just so busy that day that I forgot to put it on, then the cop gave me no time for excuses. It was like they were really hammering down on it all of a sudden,” he said.
Knapp said he often forgets to put on his seatbelt but he’s never gotten stopped or had a ticket before.
“I always get Tim Hortons for breakfast and fast food for dinner and usually forget to put it on because I’m getting in and out of the car a lot. I’m going to tell all my friends now because I don’t want to have to pay that again,” Knapp said.
And that’s exactly what the OPP are hoping for.
Fines can be as high as $1,000, with two demerit points lost.
“The OPP is working within our East Region communities to stop tragic events, but we need your assistance to make this happen – buckle up,” Redmond said.