Britain remains one of the safest places to drive in Europe.

The use of a seat belt by drivers and front-seat passengers in cars was made compulsory in the UK in January 1983. Rear seat belt use was made compulsory for children in 1989 and adults in 1991. 

Drivers and passengers caught without wearing a seat belt could be hit with an on-the-spot fixed penalty notice of £100. Rising to a fine of £500 if the case goes to court.

The government’s road safety campaign Think! Cites research which shows younger drivers and passengers are less cautious. With those aged 17-34 having the lowest seat belt-wearing habits combined with the highest accident rate.

A DfT spokesman said Britain had some of the safest roads in the world. “The number of deaths where people were not wearing a seat belt is shocking,” he said. “Up to one in four deaths in a car could have been prevented by simply plugging in before moving.” 

When you don’t need to wear a seat belt

You don’t need to wear a seat belt if you are:

  • A driver who is reversing
  • Supervising a learner driver who is reversing
  • In a vehicle being used for police, fire and rescue services
  • A passenger in a trade vehicle and you’re investigating a fault
  • 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

Dogs in cars seat belt law

Rule 57 of the Highway Code states: “When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves if you stop quickly. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars.”

Having loose animals in the car can be a distraction. In the case of a crash. They could cause serious injuries to themselves and other occupants in the vehicle. If they’re propelled forwards as the car comes to a stop.

How to safely wear a seat belt when pregnant

Legally, you must wear a seat belt when you’re pregnant unless your doctor has given you a ‘Certificate of Exemption from Compulsory Seat Belt Wearing’.

This must be kept in the vehicle and must be shown to the police if they stop you and ask why you’re not wearing a seat belt. You will also need to tell your car insurance company.

The safest and most comfortable way of wearing a seat belt if you’re pregnant is:

  • Position the lap belt (the bottom of the two) low on your hip bones and below your belly
  • The shoulder belt should be positioned between your breasts and to the side of your belly
  • The belt should be tight. If it’s too loose, it won’t hold you in place in an accident.  Don’t be tempted to position the shoulder belt underneath your arm.

Rear Seat Belt law In The UK

Adults travelling in the rear of a car must also use seatbelts if they are fitted. It is the responsibility of the adult passenger, not the driver, to make sure that they are using the seatbelt.

Seat Belt Law Child In The UK

You must make sure that any children in the vehicle you’re driving are:

  • In the correct car seat for their height or weight until they reach 135 centimeters tall or their 12th birthday, whichever is first
  • Wearing a seat belt if they’re 12 or 13 years old, or younger and over 135cm tall
  • Children under 3 must use a suitable baby car seat
  • This restraint must be installed correctly and safely
  • Any child restraint used must conform to EU safety standards. That’s either Regulation 44.04 or Regulation 129 (also known as i-Size seats)
  • Check your car manufacturer manual for information about airbags and child seats in your vehicle
  • Rear-facing baby seats must not be used in a seat protected by a front air-bag. Unless the air-bag has been deactivated
  • Ensure that the car seat or restraint is a good fit for your child and your car
  • Make sure you know how to correctly fit the seat into your car
  • It’s important to use the correct restraint for the size and age of your child. Whether it’s a rear-facing baby seat, a forward-facing child seat, a booster seat or cushion. Ensure that it’s the safest option for your particular child. Read our blog post for more information about car seat guidelines

The driver is responsible for ensuring each child passenger aged up to age 14 wears a seat belt. And could be fined for each child without a seat belt. You can be fined up to £500 if a child under 14 isn’t in the correct car seat or wearing a seat belt while you’re driving.

As always Raf Autos and Recovery is ready if you are involved in an accident and need 24 Hour Breakdown Recovery assistance.

Source: Department for Transport

Source: Gov.UK