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The Seatbelt Law In The UK

Published on 26 September 2019 | Modified on 6 December 2022

Written by Stacey Bennett

The seatbelt law states that you must wear a seat belt in cars, vans and vehicles if one is fitted. Adults, and children aged 14 years and over, must use a seat belt or child restraint, where fitted, when seated in minibuses, buses and coaches.

Exemptions are allowed for the holders of medical exemption certificates and those making deliveries or collections in goods vehicles when travelling less than 50 metres (approx 162 feet). It’s the drivers responsibility until the passenger is 14 years old.

That said, don’t move your car until everyone has their seatbelts on. Not wearing a seatbelt is often the reason Police ‘pull’ people over. This can then lead to a full vehicle inspection by the officer. At the very least this will hold you up significantly

What is the penalty for not wearing a seatbelt?

Unfortunately, you risk a fine of up to £500 for not wearing a seat belt in the car.

What is the child seatbelt law?

The child seatbelt law states the driver MUST ensure that all children under 14 years of age in cars, vans and other goods vehicles wear seat belts or sit in an approved child restraint where required.

From a Childs 3rd birthday up to 1.35 metres or their 12th birthday the correct child restraint MUST be used where seat belts are fitted. They MUST use an adult belt if the correct child restraint is not available in a licensed taxi or private hire vehicle, or for reasons of unexpected necessity over a short distance, or if two occupied restraints prevent fitment of a third. This is relevant if you have a vehicle that has 5 seats but when there are two child seats in the back the law allows you to put a third child on the front passenger seat, in the correct child seat for the age/weight of the child.

What is the booster seat law?

In the UK there it is also important to be familiar with the booster seat law. If a child is under 1.35 metres a baby seat, child seat, booster seat law or booster cushion must be used. This must be suitable for the child’s weight fitting adhering to the manufacturer’s instructions.

In cars with active frontal airbags, it is important not to fit a rear-facing car seat. In a crash, a passenger air bag risks causing serious injury or death to the child. This is really important. One should remember that babies and small children have weak necks in contrast to the size of their heads. A low impact collision at the front of the car can set the airbag off which in general is doing 200mph the impact is always catastrophic.

Simply put make sure everyone is in the appropriate type of seating and that the seatbelt is on. A road traffic collision may not be your fault but the consequences for the passengers maybe.

To find out more about the seatbelt law, contact our friendly team today on; 01270 625478

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