June 27, 2008

The Law – Seat Belts

It has been compulsory to wear seatbelts in vehicles for many years now, in fact January 31st 2008 marked 25 years since the law was passed. The law stated that it is vital for any persons travelling in front of a vehicle to wear a belt or would face police discipline, may this be a fine, caution, or in some cases harsher punishments. It has been 17 years since the law has been conceded for persons to mandatory wear them in the back of a vehicle also. 

The driver of the vehicle is responsible for ensuring that all passengers are belted up before a journey commences. If they do not adhere to this then they could face charges of up to £500.
No points will be endorsed on the driver’s license, but a fixed penalty notice will be issued.

Recently released figures indicate that although it is common routine to belt up in front, many are not using safety belts at the rear of a vehicle, the figure states that this it is one in three people who fail to do this.

In regards to a child, a child up to the age of three must only travel in a vehicle if a correct child restraint is used.

Children from 3 years old up to 12 years old, or 3 years old and up to 135 cm (whichever they reach first) must only travel with a correct child restraint. These are things like Child Car seats etc.

A child over 135 cm or 12 years old must always wear the vehicles seat belt whilst travelling. Children over the age of 14 years are classed as adults in this case only and they must wear a seatbelt. Although the seat belt law is compulsory, there is rule for exemption but these are only in the following cases:

  • 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 9 of the Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) Regulations 1987) who is supervising the holder of a provisional licence (within the meaning of Part III 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 1987, 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 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

(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.”

All new cars must have front and rear seat belts fitted. Older cars that do not have belts do not have to necessarily get them fitted but children are not authorised to travel in the vehicle.

We strongly recommend the use of a seat belt as common practice within our driving school and that all pupils beforehand are made fully aware of all the safety elements when driving a car including the seat belt.

For further information on the seat belt and law please read the Highway Code or if you require further information on Britannia Driving School’s seatbelt regulations, then please do not hesitate to contact us.


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