If you have been detected committing a seatbelt offence you may have questions about what happens next, how it will affect your licence, whether you have the chance of going on a course or what if you would rather go to court?
Here is some information to help you to understand the process.
Q. How many points do I get on my licence if I accept a fixed penalty and how much is the fine?
A. A seatbelt offence currently carries a minimum penalty of £100 fixed penalty fine with no endorsable penalty points. If the case goes to court, this can increase to a maximum fine of £500.
Q. Will I be offered an education course instead of a fine?
A. Safer Roads offer education programmes for drivers who are caught not wearing the appropriate vehicle safety restraints. Drivers will be informed at the time of the offence, by the police officer, if a seatbelt education programme is available to them. Go to Seatbelt Safe website for more information.
Q. It was a passenger that committed the offence, is that my responsibility?
A. The driver of the vehicle is responsible for ensuring that suitable safety restraints are worn by all passengers under 14 years old. Passengers 14 years and over are responsible for wearing their own seat belt, if available.
Q. Are there any exemptions to wearing vehicle safety restraints?
There is only one exemption that applies to children under the age of 3 years:
- A child under 3 years may travel unrestrained in the rear of a taxi if the correct restraint is not available.
Three exceptions allow children over 3 years to travel in the rear (not the front) and use an adult belt:
- In a taxi, if the right child restraint is not available
- For a short distance in an unexpected necessity, if the right child restraint is not available
- Where two occupied child seats in the rear prevent the fitment of a third child seat
For adult passengers (14 years or over) the following exemption apply to the wearing of seatbelts
- Hackney Carriage taxi drivers are exempt from wearing seat belts while on duty (whether they have a passenger or not). Private Hire taxi drivers are only exempt when carrying a fare paying passenger. They must wear a seat belt at all other times
- Delivery drivers such as milk float drivers used to have an exemption from wearing a seat belt when conducting local deliveries, although since a change to the law in March 2005, the seat belt exemption for delivery drivers now only applies when travelling 50 metres or less between deliveries or collections
- Emergency vehicle staff in certain circumstances
- People holding a Medical Exemption Certificate (a seat belt Medical Exemption Certificate is only issued by a doctor)
Q. What if there were mitigating circumstances
A. You may put forward your own statement about mitigating circumstance for consideration. Ultimately, if you want to plead your case before Magistrates you can elect to, however, you should be aware that magistrates have the right to increase the fine and impose court costs.
For more information & FAQs on seat belt offences please visit the Thames Valley Police website