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Seatbelt safety

In a crash you're twice as likely to die if you don't wear a seatbelt.

The facts

  • In a crash you're twice as likely to die if you don't wear a seatbelt.
  • Drivers and passengers aged 17-34 have the lowest seatbelt-wearing rates combined with the highest accident rate.
  • There is evidence that people are less likely to use seatbelts on short or familiar journeys - this puts them at serious risk of injury in a crash.

The law

  • Drivers and passengers who fail to wear seatbelts in the front and back of vehicles are breaking the law.
  • Drivers caught without a seatbelt face on-the-spot fines of £100. If prosecuted, the maximum fine is £500.
  • Adults travelling in the rear of a car must also use seatbelts, if they're fitted. It's the responsibility of the adult passenger (not the driver) to make sure that they are using the seatbelt.

Children in cars

You must make sure that any children in the vehicle you’re driving are:

  • In the correct car seat for their height or weight until they reach 135 centimetres tall or their 12th birthday, whichever is first.
  • Wearing a seat belt if they’re 12 or 13 years old, or younger and over 135cm tall.
  • You can be fined up to £500 if a child under 14 isn’t in the correct car seat or wearing a seat belt while you’re driving.
  • Children under the age of 14, travelling in the rear of a car that has appropriate restraints, must belt up. ' It is the responsibility of the driver to make sure children under 14 years of age are wearing their seatbelts...once 14 years old it is up to the passenger to take responsibility!

Exemptions

You don’t need to wear a seat belt if you’re:

  • A driver who is reversing, or supervising a learner driver who is reversing.
  • In a vehicle being used for police, fire and rescue services.
  • A passenger in a trade vehicle and you’re investigating a fault.
  • Driving a goods vehicle on deliveries that is travelling no more than 50 metres between stops.
  • A licensed taxi driver who is ‘plying for hire’ or carrying passengers.

Medical exemptions

Your doctor may say you don’t have to wear a seat belt for a medical reason. They’ll give you a ‘Certificate of Exemption from Compulsory Seat Belt Wearing’. You must:

  • Keep this in your vehicle.
  • Show it to the police if you’re stopped.

You’ll also need to tell your car insurer.

Wearing a seat belt while pregnant

You must wear a seat belt if you’re pregnant, unless your doctor says you don’t have to for medical reasons.

Wearing a seat belt if you’re disabled

You must wear a seat belt if you’re a disabled driver or passenger, unless you don’t have to for medical reasons. You may need to adapt your vehicle.

If your vehicle doesn’t have seat belts

If your vehicle doesn’t have seat belts, for example it’s a classic car, you aren’t allowed to carry any children under 3 years old in it.

Children over 3 are only allowed to sit in the back seats.

These rules only apply if your vehicle was originally made without seat belts.