Drivers ‘should make sure passengers belt up’

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Jan 31, 2023

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More than two-thirds of motorists believe drivers should be responsible for ensuring all their passengers wear seatbelts, according to new RAC research.

The study coincides with the 40th anniversary of a UK law coming into force requiring drivers to wear seat belts.

Currently, drivers only have responsibility to make sure they and any children in their vehicles are buckled up properly – with the latter potentially needing to be in a child car seat or booster seat depending on their age or height.

The RAC’s research suggests this responsibility should be broadened to include all passengers, with a third of respondents (33%) also believing that drivers should be penalised in the event anyone they’re travelling with is caught not wearing a seatbelt and putting themselves at risk.

A quarter of motorists (24%) believe the current law – where a driver can be fined up to £500 for not buckling up – is too lenient, with a clear majority of these (69%) thinking that those who break the law should pay both a fine and receive at least three points on their licences.

This is something that may come to pass as the Government stated last Autumn it is considering the merits of introducing penalty points for those driving without seatbelts.

Four per cent of drivers – the equivalent of around 1.7m full driving licence holders in Great Britain – admit to driving without a seatbelt over the last 12 months, with around a fifth of these (22%) saying they don’t belt up at least half the time.

In contrast, 7% of respondents admitted to not wearing a seatbelt when travelling as passengers in other vehicles. The law states there are only very few exceptions for not buckling up, including when deemed medically exempt or when reversing a vehicle.

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