Public opposed to penalty points for seatbelt lawbreakers

Public opposed to penalty points for seatbelt lawbreakers
Public opposed to penalty points for seatbelt lawbreakers

Almost two-thirds of the British public don’t believe motorists should face penalty points if they are caught driving without wearing a seatbelt.

Last month road safety group GEM Motoring Assist called for the Government to toughen the punishments for drivers breaking the law. But a Johnston Press survey has found limited support for the move, with only 38 per cent of respondents in favour and 62 per cent opposed.

GEM wants the penalty for driving without wearing a seatbelt brought into line with that for driving while using a mobile phone, which is six penalty points and a £200 fine. Currently, the maximum fine for seatbelt offences in England, Scotland and Wales is £500 but the offence does not carry penalty points. In Northern Ireland offenders can be hit with three points as well as a £500 fine.

Should you get penalty points on your licence for flouting seatbelt rules?

Yes: 38%
No 62%

GEM road safety officer Neil Worth said: “The Government was made aware nearly a decade ago that seatbelt rates among drivers killed in crashes were just 65 per cent, compared with 94 per cent for the wider driving population. Now that road death numbers in the UK are at their highest for five years, it’s time ministers sent a clear message that the Government is serious about reducing casualties.

“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.”

The Department for Transport highlighted a 2014 observational study which recorded seatbelt use and found that 98.2 per cent of drivers were wearing seatbelts.

A spokesperson said: “The UK has some of the safest roads in the world and we are always looking at ways of making them safer. We have no plans to change the penalties for not wearing a seatbelt but we keep this under continual review.”

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