Drivers could face three penalty points for not wearing seatbelt

Law change in the offing as meaningful proportion of those killed in cars without belts remains high

Seatbelt warning light

Drivers who choose not to wear a seatbelt could be hit with three points on their licence. MPs want to increase the deterrent from the current £100 fine as data shows that almost a third of those killed in vehicles were not wearing a seatbelt. 

It is 40 years since a change in the law was made to mandate the use of seatbelts in cars, a rule that was put into force two years later for front-seat occupants, and in 1991 for those in the rear. 

But with 25 per cent of road deaths involving a vehicle occupant not wearing a belt in 2016, rising to 30 per cent in 2018, members of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) are said to be recommending more stringent punishments for those not belting up than the current £100 fine, which can also be just a £53 awareness course instead. The proposed points could also be given to the driver if one of the occupants is unbelted.

David Davies, executive director of PACTS, told the Times: “Seatbelts are a great success story but the job is not yet done. The £100 fine does not emphasise to drivers the seriousness of the risk.”

The reasons for drivers not wearing seatbelts will vary from person to person, with some decrying infringement of civil liberties, and others said to be overconfident about being unbelted thanks to the sense of security SUVs bring. 

But whatever the reasons, as well as risking their own death and the trauma of anyone else involved in a crash that could potentially be fatal due to a lack of seatbelt use, there is also an economic cost MPs may consider, with each fatal road casualty costing the economy £2m.

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