Drivers could be hit with penalty points if they fail to wear seat belt

Drivers caught not wearing a seat belt face tougher punishments under Department for Transport (DfT) plans.

Offenders in Britain could be handed penalty points in addition to a fine, meaning some may lose their licence for failing to buckle up.

Currently, motorists who do not strap in are handed a £100 on-the-spot fine but no points.

The DfT did not reveal how many points may be given to drivers for not wearing a seat belt, but three points are used in Northern Ireland.

Motorists can be disqualified from driving if they build up 12 or more points within three years.

Prince Philip was spoken to by police in January after being photographed driving without a seat belt.

More than a quarter (27%) of the 787 car occupants who died in crashes on Britain’s roads in 2017 were not wearing a seat belt, according to DfT data.

This was compared with 20% during the previous year.

A survey commissioned by road safety charity Brake earlier this year indicated that nearly half (49%) of young drivers had been in a car with someone not wearing a seat belt in the previous 12 months.

Introducing points for failing to wear a seat belt is one of 74 measures being considered as part of the Government’s Road Safety Action Plan.

Ministers are also analysing the feasibility of fitting breathalyser-style devices to vehicles driven by convicted drink-drivers.

So-called alcolocks – installed on all French coaches – prevent a vehicle from starting unless the driver passes an alcohol breath test.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “The UK has some of the safest roads in the world, but we are not complacent and continue to look at how we can make them safer.

“Today’s action plan is a key milestone in our road safety work and sets out the important steps we are taking to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads.”

Steve Gooding, director of motoring research charity the RAC Foundation, said: “It is barely conceivable that tens of thousands of drivers and passengers make the decision each day not to belt up.

“The direct effect of non-compliance might be felt by the vehicle occupant themselves in the event of a crash, but ultimately the emergency services are left to deal with the roadside consequences and the taxpayer foots the bills.”

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