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Drivers Who Refuse To Wear A Seatbelt Face Tougher Penalties

New, tough penalties for drivers who refuse to wear a seatbelt as part of a 74 Point Action Plan to improve safety

£100 fines and penalty points

Motorists who refuse to wear a seatbelt may face tougher penalties as part of a 74 Point Action Plan to improve road safety in the UK, the Department for Transport revealed. Offenders currently receive £100 fines. However, if the proposal comes to fruition they will also get points on their licences. These points:

  • lead to disqualification (if collected insufficient number)
  • increase the cost of motor insurance
  • cause embarrassment
  • make it harder to hire vehicles


Avoidable deaths

The Government has revealed the scale of the problem. Consider 2017, for example. 27% of the people killed in cars were not wearing a belt. 1 in 4 might therefore be alive if they were properly protected. Road Safety Minister, Michael Ellis, suggested:

‘Far too many people are not wearing a seatbelt whilst travelling in a car. This needlessly puts lives at risk. Increasing the penalties for people who disregard the simplest way to protect themselves is just one of a list of actions this Government is taking to help keep people safer on our roads’, Mr Ellis concluded.

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Further proposals

The Action Plan incorporates a wide range of other proposals to make the roads safer. There is something for every age group. Consider children, for example. Many parents struggle to install child seats correctly. Poorly fitted child seats offer less protection in a collision than their properly secured counterparts.


The proposed solution is accredited training for the people that sell child seats. In turn, they can teach parents how to install them correctly at the point of sale. Additional proposals include:

  • graduated licence for newly qualified motorists that impose restrictions, e.g. cannot drive at night (for young adults)
  • safety campaigns that focus on drink driving, mobile phone use, speeding, and passenger distraction (for young adults)
  • whether a system that stops cars starting unless motorists pass a breath test could make drink driving less common (for adults)
  • a new, digital platform that clarifies how to behave on the roads to minimise the risk of collision (for older motorists)

Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, emphasised: ‘The United Kingdom has some of the safest roads in the world. But we are not complacent. We continue to look at how we can make them safer.’

‘The Action Plan is a key milestone in our safety work. It sets out the important steps we are taking to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads’, Mr Grayling concluded.

Typical over zealous rules 'Not wearing safety belt' This should be a personal decision - stupid not to, but it doesn't effect other people. Penalty - You can't sue for damages if injured, you have to pay your own medical bills - its your fault 'graduated licence for newly qualified motorists that impose restrictions, e.g. cannot drive at night (for young adults)' Stupid - how will they ever learn to drive at night Although I guess this is not actually about driving at night, but driving when going out. Don't penalise a whole group for the actions of a few. In other situations this would be called discrimination by association. 'whether a system that stops cars starting unless motorists pass a breath test could make drink driving less common (for adults)' Utter stupidity, so penalise every driver for the acts of a few including more expensive cars, servicing and retrofits Doesn't stop drug driving either which is a growing problem. 'a new, digital platform that clarifies how to behave on the roads to minimise the risk of collision (for older motorists)' Nice touch of ageism, which happily ignores the statistics of road accidents. Is it going to be compulsory? Just a nice little earner for a software company - Like the new drone licenses. What we do need is a law protecting us from stupid and irrelevant laws!

it's odd isn't it - you can smoke or drink yourself to death legally it appears but it's a £100 fine if you don't wear a seatbelt. I'm clearly missing something here?

What about the mothers who carry kids, standing in the back looking between the front seats, particularly on the school run - I think they should be proscecuted for seatbelts & child cruelty / neglect - but probably never will be.

Older drivers need to have some sort of legal assessment after, say, 75 years old. Mobility, eye sight, hearing and reaction tests. A standard test to make sure that they are safe to drive. My wife is wheel chair bound with a broken spine and spinal chord damage, due to an elderly driver, mounting a pavement and running her over. More than 6 months in hospital and will never walk again without a walking frame on a flat surface. Apparently, this is a common occurrence??

I have to disagree with your view on compulsory seatbelts, Brian. A backseat passenger without a seat belt on in a collision is likely to fly forward and kill the front seat passenger or driver. They are also likely to suffer excessively severe injuries which could have a dramatic impact on those first at the scene of the accident, the police and ambulance crew who are next on the scene, and then the effect on family and friends. Ie, not wearing a seatbelt does affect others. I agree, re night driving and young drivers. Banning them at night will hardly help them drive at night. Perhaps one lesson at night as part of learning is an idea.

Sorry for your wife’s situation, Peter, but I would think the accident was just as likely to have been caused by a young jack-the-lad showing off, or a middle class sales man in his BMW worrying about his sales figures, or a young mum in her Chelsea tractor hurrying to pick her kids up from school. Having said that, speaking as an older driver myself, eyesight tests for us should be compulsory. We qualify for free tests anyway! An annual medical may be good too. Don’t forget though deaf people and those with limited mobility are not barred from driving.

Totally agree. Nanny state is becoming more than a little tiresome. Life is dangerous and then we die. Never mind, we have little to fear with Chris Grayling looking after us.

Did presume this was only related to the driver and those under 18 (the drivers responsibility). i.e. Adult passengers would not be covered by this - not in charge of the vehicle. Although would agree about the need for rear seat passengers to be belted up - not sure how you could make/or should make the driver responsible given they are adults.

To pick a group based on age, or any other group characteristic is just wrong. Whether its race, religion, disability or age (young or old!) etc. Not even sure if its the older age group that are the worst offenders here. From observation (and being scared proverbially as a passenger) ) its the 30 to 45 group who are reluctant to accept the effect of aging, even the young can be too vain to wear glasses when they should. Its not really sensible or practical to continuously test people for ability to drive (not just eyesight) but make it a serious offence to drive when impaired (for any reason)

Precisely - stupidity at work in government, but no surprise there!

Simply they are breaking what in theory is a sensibly law, but like a lot of laws its more complicated than it need be! People need to be able to understand a law and in the case of seat belts for children apply them. Its a minefield of confusion. Accredited training for sellers might help, but that is going to up the cost (no online purchasing even from reputable dealers) , plus it doesn't help the second hand buyer (these things aren't cheap) or if you haven't used it for a while (one forgets!)

You have obviously never been walking on a pavement and spent 7 months in hospital, in pain and wheelchair dependent for the rest of your life, because a person could not control a car on a public road...

and stupid people like you!

John Collins is absolutely right in his reply to brianN2. Of course non-seat-belt-wearing by passengers affects other people in the event of an accident, as John points out. But the same is true of drivers. If a driver is unbelted, in the event of a collision in which you hit the side of another vehicle, you are likely to be thrown about and lose control of the steering wheel and pedals, and your car is likely to veer off the road; if there is an upslope the car is likely to topple over back onto the road, possibly colliding with further vehicles, and if there is a downslope it will probably roll over several times, causing repeated injuries to those inside, especially those unbelted. But if the driver is belted, he has more chance of being able to control the car and bring it safely to a stop. Having looked at the DfT's full Road Safety Statement, I had to go right to the end, to point 27 of Annex B, the 2 Year Plan, to find any actual proposal regarding seat belts, and this only amounts to "Consider launching a consultation about making the offence of not wearing a seat belt attracting penalty points and not just a fine if research indicates that it is necessary". That's pretty weak. What about passengers who refuse to wear their belts? They could be fined, but they can't be given penalty points if they don't have a licence. But if I as the driver, am liable to be given points for a passenger going unbelted, I will have an incentive to insist that all passengers fasten their belts before I move an inch. Without that argument to put to a reluctant passenger, you can be made to feel officious if you try to insist.

Fortunately not, but have had friends badly injured, due to incompetent drivers, but age had nothing to do with it, the bad drivers were either in their 20's (drunk), middle aged (medical episode at the wheel). Statistics bears out that age discrimination is totally inappropriate and you should be a lot more worried about drunk and drug impaired drivers. Perhaps more education of drivers that their ability to drive should always be checked before driving irrespective of age, medical condition or a suspected condition. Something as simple as being tired can kill.

Well thank you for that useful comment. Intelligent conversation is clearly not your strong suite. Just hope your driving is a bit better!

Was courteous yesterday and let a car turn in front of me. Then shocked to see that the old driver had what appeared to be an oxygen mask with apparatus, would have taken a photograph but government would have given me a fine and points for doing so!

I always wear a seat belt in a car as driver or passenger. I don't feel right without it. However I'm concerned with the statistic that 27% of people killed in motoring accidents were not wearing a seat belt. This means that 73% of those killed WERE wearing one. Yes, obviously it's a numbers exercise and the majority of drivers will be belted up because it's the law, but it's so easy to skew the facts if all the figures aren't on show. Personally I would rather see a clamp down on mobile phone use having recently narrowly avoided being tail-ended by a transit van driver who I could see in the mirror was speeding and obviously studying something in his lap. Looked up and braked at the last second, somehow seemed to think it was my fault for only doing 48 in a 50 zone.

Perhaps people should also be fined for not indicating.

whilst i agree with seatbelts for safety in 95% of cases, i do know a number of people who have had accidents in the past that have walked away with minor cuts and bruises, from accidents which would have, at best, left them trapped in a vehicle, had they not been thrown clear, so there will always be exceptions to the rules. and as for children wearing seatbelts/using child seats, why arent these compulsory in Taxi's? if i know i am taking my kids somewhere in my car (usually a 1 off, like using a taxi, as they live with their mother) i have to have a safety seat. where is the difference with a taxi? then there are buses. why do i have to wear a seatbelt in a car but NOT when travelling in a bus? am i less likely to have an accident in a taxi (which around here travel at 40-50mph regularly in 30mph limits) or a bus (which, again regularly exceed speed limits here) than in my own car? and why should taxi drivers be exempt from wearing seatbelts nowadays? increasingly they are a cashless business, so theres no need for the old 'safety from muggings' excuse! and for the record, i always use the seatbelt, before anyone accuses me of being anti seatbelt, im not. but there should be some degree ofuniformity across the board where these laws are concerned

With the none wearing of seatbelts, the discussions always appear to refer to cars and as such that a high percentage of light truck drivers seem to believe that they are exempt. I regularly see light trucks in traffic hold ups where neither driver or passenger are wearing belts. I have raised this with our police commissioners office, and the only response is to refer me to the regulations. Of course it's all very well having these regulations, but the people who are required to enforce the law have suffered savage cut backs in recent years, so the chance of anyone being spotted by the law other than on a motorway is fairly unlikely.

What about people not wearing seat belts that have previously walked away from serious accidents. I was involved in one where a car pulled across a dual carriageway in front of me when I was travelling at 70mph. The police at the time said it was a good job I wasn’t wearing a seat belt as if I had of been I probably wouldn’t have got out alive.

So 73% of those who wore seat belts died. How many of them woude be alive if they didnt have a belt?