Seven-in-ten UK motorists think responsibility for passengers to ‘belt up’ should lie with the driver

Seven-in-ten UK motorists think responsibility for passengers to ‘belt up’ should lie with the driver. Image: Matej Kastelic /

More than two-thirds of motorists (68 per cent) believe drivers should be responsible for ensuring all their passengers wear seatbelts.

This is according to new RAC research released to coincide with the 40-year seatbelt law anniversary on Tuesday, January 31.

Currently, drivers only have a responsibility to ensure they and any children in their vehicles are buckled up properly: with the latter potentially needing to be in a child car seat or booster seat depending on their age or height.

The RAC’s research suggests this responsibility should be broadened to include all passengers, with a third of respondents (33 per cent) also believing that drivers should be penalised in the event anyone they’re travelling with is caught not wearing a seatbelt and putting themselves at risk.

The RAC’s research also found that a quarter of motorists (24 per cent) believe the current law – where a driver can be fined up to £500 for not buckling up – is too lenient, with a clear majority of these (69 per cent) thinking that those who break the law should pay both a fine and receive at least three points on their licences. This may come to pass as the Government stated last Autumn it is considering the merits of introducing penalty points for those driving without seatbelts.

Four per cent of drivers – the equivalent of around 1.7 million full driving licence holders in Great Britain – admit to driving without a seatbelt over the last 12 months, with around a fifth of these (22 per cent) saying they don’t belt up at least half the time. In contrast, 7 per cent of respondents admitted to not wearing a seatbelt when travelling as passengers in other vehicles.

The law states there are only very few exceptions for not buckling up, including when deemed medically exempt or when reversing a vehicle.

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Anna Ellis

Originally from the UK, Anna is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at