Tougher punishments for drivers caught not wearing seatbelts

passenger woman fastening seat belt in the car, safety concept

Drivers caught not wearing a seat belt will face tougher punishments under new Government plans.

As well as a fine, people caught not strapping in could also get penalty points - which means some could end up losing their licence if they don't buckle up.

Currently, motorists who don't wear a seat belt get a £100 on-the-spot fine but no penalty points.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has not revealed how many points drivers might get for not wearing a seat belt but in Northern Ireland people who don't buckle up get three.

Motorists who build up 12 or more points within three years can lose their licence.

DfT data shows that 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 - up from 20% 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.

File photo dated 22/05/03 of traffic on the M6. Britain's roads are more travelled than ever according to latest figures published by the Department for Transport.

The introduction of penalty 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 looking at the possibility of fitting breathalyser-style devices to vehicles driven by convicted drink-drivers.

So-called alcolocks, which are installed on all French coaches, stop 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."

- This article first appeared on Yahoo

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