The fixed penalty for not wearing a seatbelt is £100 per person. If the case goes to court a fine of up to £500 can be imposed.
In a collision, just one person not wearing a seatbelt can be thrown around with enough force to kill or seriously injure all other people within the car, even if they are wearing their seatbelts. That is why it is important that everyone is wearing a seatbelt, or if a child, that they are in a suitable restraint.
You can only carry as many people as there are seatbelts.
Also, most modern vehicles have frontal air bags which are supplementary safety devices. If you are not wearing your seatbelt in the front of a vehicle and the airbag deploys then you may come into contact with it at the wrong moment, and the force of this can be enough to cause serious injury.
By law, you don’t need to wear a seat belt if you are:
• A driver who is reversing, or supervising a learner driver who is reversing.
• In a vehicle being used for police, fire and rescue services.
• 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.
However, it is always safer to wear a seatbelt even if you fall into the ‘exceptions’.
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.
Minibuses, coaches and limousines
For detailed information about the law on seatbelt wearing in minibuses, coaches and limousines please refer to The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) website: www.rospa.com