Car Seatbelt Law
In Britain, the law states that anyone travelling in a car, whether in the front or back, must wear a seatbelt if there is one fitted. This legislation was introduced by the government in the early 80s in an effort to reduce the number of car accident fatalities, and it is estimated that around 50,000 lives have been saved as a result.
Research shows 90% of UK drivers and front passengers wear a seatbelt. However, only 66% of adults securely fasten themselves when sat in the back of a car and just 4% of drivers ensure that they are properly wearing their seatbelts before setting off.
The full legislation regarding car seatbelts states:
- Adults and children over 12, or over 1.5 metres tall, must wear seatbelts in the front of a car, and in the back if available.
- Children aged 3-11 and under 1.5 metres must wear a child restraint if available, and if not, they must wear a seatbelt in the front of the car, or in the back if available. It is always safer for children to travel in the back of the car, unless there is a better form of restraint in the front.
- Children under the age of 3 must wear a child restraint if it is available. However, if it is not, they must be sat and secured in the back.
- Passengers travelling in taxis and small minibuses must wear seatbelts at all times.
Under UK law, it is permissible to travel without a seatbelt if:
- you are travelling in a car that does not have rear seatbelts and it is not possible to sit in the front,
- if you are reversing, or
- if you are travelling in a coach or large minibus - although it is highly recommended that you still wear a seatbelt when sat in such transport.
*Delivery van drivers are allowed to drive 50 metres between collections and deliveries without wearing a seatbelt.
Seatbelt doís and doníts
To ensure your seatbelt will protect you in the event of a car accident you should:
- wear your seatbelt as tight as possible
- ensure the lap belt is strapped over your pelvis and hips, not your stomach
- ensure the diagonal strap is over your shoulders and not your neck
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