Seat Belts

Wearing seat belts

In Merseyside, we believe in a ‘safe system’ approach to road safety – this includes the use of seat belts. From time to time, everyone makes mistakes, including drivers and pedestrians. When the inevitable happens, the road environment and vehicles involved are designed to prevent or reduce the level of injuries to a minimum. Modern cars are some of the safest, most efficient vehicles ever produced. They are fitted with a range of safety features designed to keep the occupants and the public safe. Many, such as lane departure and anti-lock braking systems are designed to prevent a crash whilst others prevent serious injury if a crash occurs. Air bags, or Secondary Restraint Systems have saved countless lives and prevented life-changing injuries.

However, the most effective method of preventing injury when a mistake is made and a crash occurs is through the wearing of a seat belt. Without a seat belt, an airbag (front or side) may actually cause more injuries than prevent them. Passengers who fail to wear a seat belt not only place themselves in danger but also the other occupants in the vehicle. Parents must ensure that children are secured using the correct child seat.

Failure to wear a seat belt or use a correct restraint carries a penalty of £100 to the driver or passenger (aged over 14 years). However the cost in human life is immeasurable.

Visit our page on child car seats and restraints for information on passengers under 14.

Are they any exceptions?

You don’t need to wear a seat belt if you’re:

  • a driver who is reversing, or supervising a learner driver who is reversing
  • in a vehicle being used for police, fire and rescue services
  • a passenger in a trade vehicle and you’re investigating a fault
  • driving a goods vehicle on deliveries that is travelling no more than 50 metres between stops
  • a licensed taxi driver who is ‘plying for hire’ or carrying passengers

There are a few specific medical exceptions too, but you’ll need a certificate of ‘Exemption from Compulsory Seat Belt Wearing’ from your doctor. You’ll have to keep it in the car, and show it to the police if you’re stopped.

Wearing a seatbelt while pregnant

You must wear a seat belt if you’re pregnant, unless your doctor says you don’t have to for medical reasons (you’ll get an exemption certificate). The bottom strap of your seatbelt needs to be worn below the bump, rather than across it.

Wearing a seat belt if you’re disabled

You must wear a seat belt if you’re a disabled driver or passenger, unless you don’t have to for medical reasons (again, you’ll get a certificate which you need to carry with you in the car).