Drivers could get penalty points for not wearing seatbelts

Nearly a third of those who die in road accidents aren’t wearing a seatbelt, so the Government is looking at ways to encourage more people to buckle up...

Fiat 500

The Department for Transport is considering whether to introduce penalty point fines for people caught not wearing a seatbelt in a car, after the latest road safety statistics (for 2021) show that 30% of people killed in road traffic accidents weren’t wearing a seatbelt.

That percentage rises to 47% when you only consider fatal collisions that happened between 6pm and 8am. On average, five people die a day on our roads. 

It’s been a legal requirement to wear a seatbelt for almost 40 years, since 31 January 1983. At present, all vehicle occupants aged 14 or over must wear a seatbelt or they will get a £100 fine. The driver is also responsible for those aged under 14, and can be issued with a fine if they aren’t properly buckled up. However, you can’t currently get penalty points on your licence for this offence, and fines can be waived if the offender chooses to go on an awareness course that costs around £52. 

Seatbelt warning light

The Government is looking at ways to improve road safety because there was an increase in the number of people killed on the UK’s roads in 2021: up from 1460 in 2020 to 1558. The number of deaths per billion miles driven was also higher than pre-pandemic levels for the first time. 

“These stark figures underline just how important it is to buckle up in both the front and rear of the car," said Simon Williams, road safety spokesperson for the RAC. "Putting points on the licences of offenders would be a welcome move, but this must be accompanied by better enforcement.”

Williams pointed out that offenders currently have to be caught not wearing a seatbelt by a police officer, but he said new camera technology being trialled in the UK could make the process far simpler and more effective.

“If this technology were to be rolled out alongside introducing points on licences, lives would undoubtedly be saved,” he added.

For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here

Next: The safest cars on sale today >>