Drivers could face penalty for seatbelt offences | Smith Bowyer Clarke

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Drivers could face penalty for seatbelt offences

Wearing a seat belt is legal requirement for both drivers and passengers. This has been the case for front seats since 1983 and rear seats since 1991. At present, if you are caught driving without a seatbelt, you will face a £100 fixed penalty or fine at Court up to £500. However, under new plans proposed by DfT for seatbelt offences, we could soon see this offence upgraded to include the endorsement of penalty points on your driving licence, as is currently the case in Northern Ireland.

This proposal is a reaction to the increase in fatalities following RTCs, where the victim was not wearing a seatbelt. In 2021, 30% of car occupant fatalities involve people who did not have the protection of a seatbelt. This is up from 23% in 2020, a significant rise.

DfT commented upon the rise and stated, ‘This is unacceptably high’. An RAC spokesperson said, ‘It’s irrefutable that seat belts save lives. Putting points on the Licence would be a welcome move but this must be accompanied by better enforcement.’

Technology is being trialled in the UK which would allow easier detection of these offences, which previously required a police officer’s observation. This is by the introduction of Acusensus van mounted technology, using multiple cameras to capture footage of passing vehicles. Following a trial in Wiltshire, 512 people were captured without the seatbelt in just 64 hours, confirming how prevalent this offence actually is.  Although the change to legislation has been supported, it is not yet approved so it would be some time before this would have any effect for drivers, but given the statistics our advice is to buckle up!

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