Government urged to make seatbelt offences punishable with points

Driving without wearing a seatbelt should be cause for penalty points to be put on an offender’s driving licence, a leading road safety charity believes. 

In its most recent road safety plan revealed in 2019, the Government said that it would be changing the law so that those caught not wearing a seatbelt could get points on their licence alongside a fine. 

Now, road safety charity GEM Motoring Assist is asking the Government to ‘honour the commitment’. 

Similar rules already apply in Northern Ireland and even extend to those drivers who don’t ensure that a child in the front or rear seats is wearing a seatbelt. 

GEM chief executive Neil Worth said: “Official figures (from 2017) show that despite compliance rates of 98.6 per cent among car drivers, 27 per cent of those killed in cars were not wearing a seat belt – amounting to more than 200 deaths.

“Seatbelts reduce the risk of death by 45 per cent for drivers and front seat occupants. They also reduce the risk of serious injury by 50 per cent.

“Research shows time and again that seatbelt laws increase seatbelt use, and therefore reduce deaths and serious injuries.

“We have seen mobile phone penalties for drivers rise in recent years, and if seatbelt offences were dealt with in a similar way, we believe we would see a significant and immediate reduction in the number of drivers and vehicle occupants killed and seriously injured on our roads."

Back in 2019, the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety issued a report that criticised the road safety community for having ‘taken its eye off the ball’ in reference to seatbelt compliance. 

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