Government urged to make seatbelt offences punishable with points

·2-min read

Seatbelt offences should come with penalty points on a driver’s licence, according to a road safety charity.

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

However, road safety charity GEM Motoring Assist is calling on the Government ‘to honour the commitment’.

These rules already apply in Northern Ireland, and even extend to drivers who don’t ensure 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.

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“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.”

In 2019, the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety issued a report that suggested the road safety community had ‘taken its eye off the ball’ with regards to seatbelt compliance.

Following its report, it conducted a survey that found 72 per cent of respondents supported the introduction of penalty points for those flouting seatbelt rules.