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Driving Law - Seatbelts

It is an offence for an individual not to wear a seatbelt if one is available to wear. However, it also the responsibility of the driver to ensure that children under 14 are wearing seatbelts or child restraints where appropriate and where available.

Person
Front seat
Rear seat
Responsibility of

DRIVER

Must be worn if fitted

-

Driver

Child under 3 years of age

Appropriate child restraint* must be worn

Appropriate child restraint* must be worn if available

Driver

Child aged 3 to 11 and under, 1.5metres (about 5 feet) in height

Appropriate child restraint* must be worn if available. If not, an adult seat belt must be worn

Appropriate child restraint* must be worn if available. If not, an adult seat belt must be worn if available

Driver

Child aged 12 or 13 or younger child 1.5metres or more in height

Adult seat belt must be worn if available

Adult seat belt must be worn if available

Driver

Passengers over the age of 14

Must be worn if available

Must be worn if available

Passenger

* An appropriate child restraint can be a baby carrier, harness or booster seat or a child seat, the suitability of which is determined by the weight of the child. Approved child restraints must carry the BS "Kitemark" or United Nations "E" mark. A restraint will be labelled by the manufacturers to show the weight for which it has been designed.Small children may find it more comfortable to use a booster cushion (not a household cushion) when wearing an adult belt.

All cars manufactured since 1973 should be fitted with front and rear seatbelts. Cars manufactured prior to that date, do not have to have seatbelts but if they have been subsequently fitted, they must be worn.

Maximum Penalty for not wearing a seatbelt

  • maximum fine of £500.00

The usual penalty, however, is a £30 fixed penalty notice fine.

Exemption to wearing a seatbelt

The following exemption to wearing a seatbelt applies by virtue of the Motor Vehicles (Wearing of Seatbelts) Regulations 1993:

  • a person holding a medical certificate;
  • the driver of or a passenger in a motor vehicle constructed or adapted for carrying goods, while on a journey which does not exceed 50 metres and which is undertaken for the purpose of delivering or collecting any thing;
  • a person driving a vehicle while performing a manoeuvre which includes reversing; a qualified driver (within the meaning given by regulation 17 of the. Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) Regulations 1999) who is supervising the holder of a provisional licence (within the meaning of Part 111 of the Act) while that holder is performing a manoeuvre which includes reversing;
  • a person by whom, as provided in the Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) Regulations 1999, a test of competence to drive is being conducted and his wearing a seat belt would endanger himself or any other person;
  • a person driving or riding in a vehicle while it is being used for fire brigade or, in England, fire and rescue authority or police purposes or for carrying a person in lawful custody (a person who is being so carried being included in this exemption);
  • the driver of—

(i)   a licensed taxi while it is being used for seeking hire, or answering a call for hire, or carrying a passenger for hire, or           .  .

(ii) a private hire vehicle while it is being used to carry a passenger for Hire;

  • a person riding in a vehicle, being used under a trade licence, for the purpose of investigating or remedying a mechanical fault in the vehicle;
  • a disabled person who is wearing a disabled-person's belt; or
  • a person riding in a vehicle while it is taking part in a procession organised by or on behalf of the Crown.

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