Seatbelts save lives

Protect yourself and the people around you.

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  • Minimum £100 fine

  • Up to £500 fine and points

  • Includes front and rear seats

  • Limited exemptions

Don’t put lives at risk

You have 50% less chance of surviving in a collision without a seatbelt. It’s the law in Scotland for people to wear a seatbelt at all times – in the front and the back seats of a vehicle.

What you need to know

  • Adult drivers and passengers always need to wear a seatbelt
  • Drivers have to make sure children under 14 use a seatbelt (or the equivalent)
  • Pregnant women still have to wear seatbelts
  • Damaged seatbelts will automatically fail an MOT
  • There are very few exemptions

Seatbelt law in Scotland

  • All drivers and passengers aged over 14 must wear a seatbelt – if available. This includes both the front and rear seats
  • The law applies to cars, vans and other commercial vehicles
  • It’s up to the driver to make sure that anyone under 14 wears a seatbelt (or uses the right child restraints i.e. a car seat)
  • Only one person per seatbelt

Penalties for not wearing a seatbelt

If you don’t wear a seatbelt in the front or rear seats, you’ll face a fine and potentially, points on your licence.

  • £100 minimum fine – if the driver or passenger is over 14
  • Up to £500 fine and three points – for the driver if a child under 14 is not properly restrained

How to wear a seatbelt

If a seatbelt is not worn properly, there’s a higher risk of serious injury. Wearing it the correct way makes sure you – and your passengers – are protected if there’s a crash.

  • The belt should be worn as tight as possible, with no slack
  • The lap belt should go over your pelvis, not your stomach
  • The diagonal strap should cross over your breast bone and rest on your shoulder, not neck
  • Nothing should stop the smooth movement of the belt by trapping it
  • The height of the top of the seatbelt can usually be adjusted on the B-pillar. If you can’t get the seatbelt to fit properly, try adjusting this section
  • Never wear the diagonal strap underneath your arm, as it can seriously hurt you in the event of a collision

Stay safe if you’re pregnant

By law, all pregnant women must wear a seatbelt when travelling in the front or rear seats of a vehicle. It’s still safer to be properly restrained – protecting both mum and baby.

How to wear a seatbelt if you’re pregnant

  • Put the diagonal strap between your breasts with the strap resting over your shoulder, not neck
  • Place the lap belt flat on your thighs, fitting comfortably beneath your abdomen and over your pelvis, not your bump
  • The belt should be as tight as possible, so any impact is absorbed by the body’s frame
  • Avoid ‘Lap-only-Belts’ as they can cause serious injuries to your baby if you stop suddenly
  • If the seatbelt is worn properly, both mum and baby will be safer in an collision

Pets in vehicles

  • Loose pets or other animals can be a serious distraction
  • In an accident they can badly injure themselves and other people
  • They should always be securely strapped in place, or in a proper cage

The Highway Code says:

‘Make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars.’

Damaged seatbelts are dangerous

Any damage to the seatbelt, buckles or restraint mechanism is a risk. It also means your vehicle will fail its annual MOT.

  • Seatbelts can be damaged in an collision
  • The webbing can become frayed or cut
  • The catch and release button can stop working
  • The tensioners can lose their ability to react

If any seatbelt part needs to be replaced, use a car dealer’s garage or a qualified expert.

Seatbelt exemptions

There are only a few reasons for not being required to wear a seatbelt. This could be when:

  • A driver is reversing, or supervising a learner driver reversing
  • A vehicle’s being used for police, fire or rescue services
  • A passenger in a trade vehicle is investigating a fault
  • A licensed taxi driver is ‘plying for hire’ or carrying passengers
  • A delivery driver is making deliveries in the same street, but not travelling more than 50 metres between stops

Medical exemptions

  • A doctor can give you a Certificate of Exemption from having to wear a seatbelt
  • The exemption certificate must be in the vehicle at all times
  • And you have to tell your vehicle insurer

Seatbelts - it's not just you who gets hurt

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