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Seat Belt Regulations

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 13 Jul 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Seat Belts Seat Belt Regulations Child

Wearing a seatbelt could be the difference between you surviving a car crash and dying in a car crash – it’s a simple as that.

It’s been illegal since 1982 to travel in the front seats of a vehicle without wearing a seat belt – and for good reason: over 2,000 lives are saved every single year by ‘belting up’.After the law came into effect there was a recorded 90% increase in the amount of people wearing seat belts, and 25 years later, most people do still adhere to this law, simply because it’s dangerous and stupid not to.

Rear seat belts were optional for a long time, and in the 80’s when the law on front seat belts came into force, there were very few cars that had the rear belts fitted as standard. In 1991, it became the law for adults to wear suitable restraints in the back of a car wherever they were available.

Why is it so Important to Wear Seat Belts in the Back?

Some people don’t consider it as important to wear seat belts in the rear of the car as in the front, but they should: if you are traveling unrestrained in the back seat of a car that crashes at 30mph, the chances are that you will hit the front seat, and anyone in it, with a force that works out somewhere between 30 and 60 times your own body weight. Whatever that works out at, even if you weigh less than Kate Moss, it’s not good news for whoever is sitting in the front.

It’s also worth remembering that if you apply for compensation after an injury obtained through a car accident, then any payment made to you may be reduced if you were not wearing a seat belt.

So What Exactly Does the Law say then?

The law states:
  • You must wear a seat belt in cars and goods vehicles where there is one fitted.
  • If a child under 14 does not wear a seat belt or child restraint then the driver is liable to prosecution regardless of whether they are the parent or guardian.
  • As of September 2006 the regulations changed regarding children and car restraints. They now state that children up to 135cms in height (or 12 years old) must use the appropriate child restraint when traveling in a car, goods vehicle or van.
  • It is acceptable for a child to wear an adult belt when they reach 135cm or the age of 12, whichever comes first.
  • In buses and coaches with seat belts fitted passengers age 14 and above must use them. Public fare-paying passengers traveling in vehicles on 30mph roads are exempt.

Should I Wear a Seatbelt When Pregnant?

Yes, You should always wear your seat belt while you are pregnant. No matter whether you are sitting in the front or back of the car, it will protect you and your unborn baby in the event of a crash and can stop both of you from getting injured, or worse still, killed. Just make sure that you are wearing it properly and in many accident situations it should increase your baby’s chances of surviving a crash.

Do I Need to Wear it in a Different Way?

The seat belt will usually be a restraint made up of 3 points – i.e. it should have a shoulder strap and a strap that goes across your lap. These will stop you from being thrown out of the car during an accident, and the shoulder strap will keep the weight of your body off the baby in the moments after a crash.

You should always wear your seat belt in the proper way. The lap strap will go under your tummy, stretch across the width of your hips and sit as high as possible on your thighs.The seat belt should be (and probably will be!) snug but you can adjust it using the shoulder strap if it is too tight. It’s very important that it should never, ever go right across your tummy – this could be dangerous for your baby in the event of an accident.

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[Add a Comment]
I got caught by a safety camera van not wearing a belt will I get offered a course if it's the first time? Or is it the £100 fine ?
Dandre - 13-Jul-17 @ 11:27 AM
Vern - Your Question:
Hi my daughter was stationary but engine running when police went up to her car to speak to her a month later she had a letter saying they were charging her for not wearing a seatbelt even though she was, can they do that

Our Response:
If she was wearing her seat belt she should contest it of course. Did the police speak to her about it at the time?
NoPenaltyPoints - 27-Jun-17 @ 11:07 AM
Hi my daughter was stationary but engine running when police went up to her car to speak to her a month later she had a letter saying they were charging her for not wearing a seatbelt even though she was, can they do that
Vern - 24-Jun-17 @ 7:40 PM
Iv had a letter sent to work saying on x time and date I was allegedly not wearing my seat belt. As it's a company vehicle work have filled it out with my details an sent it back to them with m just wondering where I stand with it
Andy - 24-Apr-17 @ 12:37 PM
Police seen me reaching to fix my seat belt as I started to move off from a petrol station so they turned and put on the blue lights as I was approaching the next junction then as I indicated to pull in and pulled in they turned them of and didn't move he then signaled for me to drive on without getting out of the car did he let me off or realise I had it on or should I expect to hear from them?
Matt - 12-Jan-17 @ 6:27 PM
shakma- Your Question:
I was pulled over by police few hours ago because my daughter was not wearing a seatbelt, do I get penalty points??

Our Response:
There are no points issued for this offence, but you could receive a hefty fine if you daughter is under 14. If she's over 14, she is responsible for the seatbelt and can be fined.
NoPenaltyPoints - 9-Jan-17 @ 2:38 PM
i was pulled over by police few hours ago because my daughter was not wearing a seatbelt, do i get penalty points??
shakma - 7-Jan-17 @ 9:44 PM
Jsmith - Your Question:
Hi I went by a mobile police camera van, the ones typically used for speeding, but I wasn't wearing a seatbelt. Is it possible I will be caught for this? Was in a works car! In Scotland, do you definitely not get points on licence?

Our Response:
You can be fined up to £500 for not wearing a seat belt. It doesn't always attract penalty points.
NoPenaltyPoints - 10-Nov-16 @ 10:54 AM
Hi I went by a mobile police camera van, the ones typically used for speeding, but I wasn't wearing a seatbelt. Is it possible I will be caught for this? Was in a works car! In Scotland, do you definitely not get points on licence?
Jsmith - 9-Nov-16 @ 1:06 PM
Abi - Your Question:
Hello I was pulled out some hours ago by the police with 2 children jot using the seat belt what should I do

Our Response:
Did the police say they were giving you a fixed penalty or anything? This offence can attract a fine of between £100 and £1000 but does not incur endorsements.
NoPenaltyPoints - 2-Nov-16 @ 2:03 PM
Hello i waspulled outsomehoursagobythepolicewith2 childrenjot usingtheseatbelt whatshouldIdo
Abi - 2-Nov-16 @ 9:38 AM
cal - Your Question:
I got done for not wearing my seat belt while driving I had a letter saying I could either do the safety course or pay the 100 pound fine so I done the course and past it now I have had a letter saying I haven't paid my fine in time should have I payed the 100 pound as well because in letter it gave me the option to pick one?

Our Response:
No, the only thing you should have paid for was the course itself. It could be an administrative mix up. Callor write to the address on the letter, with proof that you've done the course.
NoPenaltyPoints - 22-Sep-16 @ 12:55 PM
I got done for not wearing my seat belt while driving I had a letter saying I could either do the safety course or pay the 100 pound fine so I done the course and past it now I have had a letter saying I haven't paid my fine in time should have I payed the 100pound as well because in letter it gave me the option to pick one?
cal - 20-Sep-16 @ 5:48 PM
I was stopped in August 2013 for not wearing a seat belt and was told not to worry as I would be offered a course nothing till this August where I was offered a course. Do I need to do or wait for notice of intended procecution.
Roger - 3-Sep-16 @ 11:43 AM
Gin - Your Question:
I got pulled by the police I had no seat belt on and I had noticed that my daughter had taken he seat belt off so the police officer done my twice now I have been sums to court will I get points or a fine

Our Response:
That will be for the judge to decide, but it could result in 3 penalty points plus a fine of up to £500.
NoPenaltyPoints - 16-May-16 @ 2:35 PM
I got pulledby the policeI had no seat belton and I had noticed that my daughter had taken he seat beltoff so the policeofficerdone my twice now I have been sums to court will I get points or a fine
Gin - 13-May-16 @ 7:43 PM
I was just stopped 2 hours ago by a gang of police officers for not wearing a seat belt.asian officer came up to me and asked why i wasnt wearing a seat belt and i replied just dropped a passenger round the corner as am a cab driver and that officer i forgot to put it back on.at first he said we are going to warn you and asked for my driving licence.i handed my drivers license to a lady officer who went and spoke to the sergeant and came back saying i will get 3 points on my license and a fine.I guess my name mahomed played a big part to this punishment.is it possible to get points for not wearing a seat belt??
Abdul - 28-Apr-16 @ 2:48 PM
geno - Your Question:
I have received a letter from Lancs Constabulary asking for my details regarding an alleged instance of driving whilst not wearing a seatbelt. I am bewildered as Iam so safety conscious, and my dashboard light would alert me also. How can I question this ? If I am guilty of this I deserve whatever the punishment is, I am unconvinced however that this is me. How can I find out who the driver is?

Our Response:
Write back stating that you do not think that you were the person concerned and ask for further evidence (eg photographic etc). Our guide here refers mainly to speeding but the process is the same.
NoPenaltyPoints - 11-Sep-15 @ 2:14 PM
I have received a letter from Lancs Constabulary asking for my details regarding an alleged instance of driving whilst not wearing a seatbelt. I am bewildered as I am so safety conscious, and my dashboard light would alert me also. How can I question this ? If I am guilty of this I deserve whatever the punishment is, I am unconvinced however that this is me. How can I find out who the driver is?
geno - 10-Sep-15 @ 7:05 PM
@Westportsteve. Unless you think you did not commit the offence, there's not much you can do about this. A red light offence would usually attract a 3 point penalty with a £100 fine. The points are removed after 4 years.
NoPenaltyPoints - 8-Jun-15 @ 10:50 AM
I have just received a NIP for a red light offence (I am the only driver of this car so have no option but to sign part one). I drive 500-1000 miles a week and have had a clean licence since 1989 when I passed my test. Is there any hope of avoiding the penalty points??
westportsteve - 3-Jun-15 @ 6:56 PM
Could you please tell me how I stand with this - I have acar from 1999 - and have recently taken the "middle seat belt" out of the back seat. So I have 3 passenger seatbelts, 2 in the back and 1 in the frontand 1 for the driver.Is this still legal and would it pass an MOT. Many thanks - Mr Mel Taylor.
Mel Boy - 20-Jul-13 @ 3:37 PM
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