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Failure to wear a seat belts carries a fine of up to £500, a fixed penalty notice will usually be issued, allowing you the option of paying a £60 fine
Legal Penalties – Law regulations
If you are convicted of failing to wear a seat belt as a driver or passenger, you could face a fine of up to £500.
As a driver, if you are convicted of failing to ensure that a child passenger is using an appropriate child restraint or wearing a seat belt according to the legal requirements described above, you could face a fine of up to £500.
In addition to the legal penalties, failure to wear a seat belt or failure to ensure that a child passenger uses an appropriate child restraint or wears a seat belt according to the legal requirements described above, could affect any claims against your motor insurance cover.
You could also face civil proceedings for damages, if (for example) you failed to safely carry someone else’s child.
But, of course, the most serious penalty of all could be that you or a passenger loses their life!
The Purpose of Seat Belts
Seat belts are designed to retain people in their seats, and so prevent or reduce injuries suffered in a crash.
They ensure that as little contact is made between the occupant and vehicle interior as possible and significantly reduce the risk of being thrown from a vehicle.
On modern vehicles, seat belts are now also designed to work as the key part of wider injury prevention measures and safety systems, such as airbags and head restraints, which will not be as effective in reducing the risk of injury if an occupant is not wearing a seat belt.
ALWAYS WEAR A SEAT BELT WHEN TRAVELLING IN THE FRONT, OR THE REAR, OF A VEHICLE THAT HAS SEAT BELTS FITTED.
ALWAYS MAKE SURE THAT CHILDREN TRAVEL IN AN APPROPRIATE CHILD RESTRAINT OR IN A SEAT BELT IF THEY ARE TOO BIG FOR A CHILD RESTRAINT
Who needs to wear seatbelts?
There are new regulations governing the wearing of seatbelts in cars, vans and goods vehicles, which will apply from 18 September 2006.
The changes relate specifically to children and how they are secured in your vehicle.
“Most people make sure that children use some kind of restraint when travelling on the road, but it is vitally important to use the right one; and not to use an adult belt before the child is big enough.
“Small children need the protection that baby seats and child seats are designed to provide. Seat belts are designed for adults. Children who have grown out of child seats still need to use booster seats and booster cushions.
“We estimate that these changes could prevent over 2000 child deaths or injuries each year.”
Surely adult seat belts are OK for older children?
Adult seat belts are best for people over 150 cms (approx 5′) in height and with an adult bone structure. Children need to use child seats and boosters to be safe -they put them in the right position to benefit from the adult seat belt properly.
The lap belt element of an adult seat belt needs to go as low as possible over the stomach. Therefore a child needs to be boosted up so the adult belt fits properly.
If not, the adult belt sits too high over the stomach and in a crash there is a risk of damage to internal organs as well as slipping out of the belt.
More Passengers than Seat Belts
If there are not enough seat belts or child restraints in the car for all the passengers, then some may legally travel in the rear of the vehicle without wearing a seat belt. This may be legal, but it is not safe. Between 8 and 15
front seat occupants are killed every year by unbelted rear seat passengers flying forward in an accident.
The safest option is to only carry the same number of passengers as there are seat belts. If necessary, use two cars or make two journeys for the trip.
If you must carry a passenger for whom there is no seat belt, it is better for the heaviest passengers to wear a seat belt, because they would cause more severe injuries to other people in the car if they are thrown about in a crash.