Critics have attacked proposals to punish drivers who fail to wear a seatbelt with penalty points on their licence or even a driving ban.
According to The Times, motorists could receive three penalty points if caught unbuckled, a change from the current £100 fine for the offence, while a driving ban is also being considered.
The tough new measures from the parliamentary advisory council for transport safety (Pacts) would also penalise drivers who are wearing a seatbelt if the passenger is not.
But the Alliance for British Drivers, which promotes the concerns and interest of motorists in Britain, said the proposals "don't seem proportionate".
A spokesperson told Yahoo News UK: "We're surprised non-seatbelt wearing is such a problem given that modern cars have warning lights and beep alerts if the driver or passengers don't put on their seatbelts.
"The current law seems adequate with a £100 fine rising to £500 in court. The suggested driving ban doesn't seem proportionate. "
However, Pacts said tougher penalties were needed because the existing fines – which can be avoided if drivers choose to go on a £53 online seatbelt awareness course instead – were not a strong enough deterrent.
David Davies MP, the executive director of Pacts, said: “Seatbelts are a great success story but the job is not yet done.
“The £100 fine does not emphasise to drivers the seriousness of the risk.”
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Figures from the Department for Transport (DfT) show that 1,752 people were killed on Britain’s roads in 2019, with drivers or passengers in cars accounting for the highest number of deaths (736).
Almost a quarter of those (23%) were not wearing seatbelts – an increase of 19% from six years earlier.
Wearing seatbelts in the front seats of cars was made a legal requirement in January 1983, and it became law to wear them in back seats in 1991.
The DfT is expected to outline the tougher punishments for failing to wear a seatbelt on Friday, The Times said.
Former transport secretary Chris Grayling unveiled plans to introduce three points for flouting the seatbelt laws in 2019 but they have yet to be introduced.
Yahoo News UK has contacted road safety charity Brake and the Alliance of British Drivers for a comment.
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