Charged with Not Wearing Seatbelt?

Violations of the legal rules relating to the wearing of seatbelts do not, as the law currently stands, result in the imposition of penalty points.

Nevertheless, with courts having the power to impose fines of up to £500 being prosecuted for not wearing a seatbelt can quickly become a costly affair.

Except in certain limited circumstances it is an offence for drivers and adult passengers not to wear a seatbelt in a vehicle in which they are provided.

In addition, the driver of a motor vehicle must also bear responsibility for all passengers under the age of 14 and ensure that they are appropriately restrained at all times whilst the vehicle is in motion.

The law in relation to the wearing of seatbelts is surprisingly complex especially in relation to the use of child seats and in respect of the rules applying to older vehicles.

Children under three years of age
Insofar as children under the age of three are concerned, they must use the correct form of restraint whether traveling in the front or back of the vehicle. Moreover, in the case of children in rear-ward facing seats traveling in the front it is illegal to drive without first disabling the front passenger seat airbag. Nevertheless, it is possible for a child under the age of three to travel in the back of a taxi or private hire vehicle where no child restraint is available.

Children over the age of three but under twelve or 135cm in height
Children falling into this category must use the correct form of restraint (where seatbelts are fitted) whether traveling in the front or in the back except:

(a) Where the child is traveling in a taxi or private hire vehicle.
(b) Where the journey is for a short distance for an unexpected necessity, or
(c) Where there are already two child restraints being used in the rear and a third cannot be fitted into the vehicle.

Children over the age of 12 or 13 and over the age of 135cm in height.
A driver must ensure that children falling into this category wear adult seatbelts (where fitted) at all times.

There exist a number of exceptions to the duty to wear a seat belt:

(a) Where you are the driver of, or a passenger in, a vehicle used for carrying goods, and you are in the course of a journey not exceeding fifty metres undertaken for the purpose of making a delivery or a collection.

(b) Where you are reversing or, being a qualified driver, are supervising a learner driver who is reversing.

(c) Where you are the driver or passenger in a police or fire brigade vehicle.

(d) Where you are a disabled person wearing a special disabled person’s belt.

(e) Where you are in an old vehicle not fitted with seat belts. Vehicles made after 1973 should be fitted with front and rear seatbelts. Vehicles made prior to that date do not have to have seatbelts but where they have been fitted they must be worn.

Should you require any further expert guidance on the above matters then please do not hesitate to contact us.

An example of a seatbelt offence case:

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