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What Classic Car Owners Need to Know About Seatbelt Laws

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Classic car owners are being told to brush up on their understanding of seatbelt laws in old vehicles or risk a hefty fine and penalty points.

Motoring experts at Quotezone.co.uk have clarified what the UK seatbelt laws mean for classic car drivers and researched the rules about wearing a seatbelt that most drivers are unaware of.

The seatbelt law was introduced in 1983 and has since saved thousands of lives and prevented countless injuries.*

But the latest figures show that 5.2% of drivers and 8.5% of backseat passengers were not wearing a seatbelt.**

In most circumstances, every passenger and driver is required by law to wear their seatbelt, no matter how short the journey is.

If anyone is caught not wearing a seatbelt when they are supposed to, they could be fined up to £500.***

But there are certain situations which do not legally require drivers or passengers to wear a seatbelt, although it is always strongly advised.

Many people are unaware that the driver is only responsible for children under 14 wearing their seatbelts; anyone over 14 is accountable for themselves.

Owners of classic cars with no seatbelt installed are not legally required to get one fitted, and drivers are therefore exempt from wearing one.

Greg Wilson, Founder and CEO of Quotezone.co.uk, said: “Since the seatbelt law was first introduced over 40 years ago, it has saved thousands of lives and made the UK roads much safer for everyone.

“We urge everyone to wear a seatbelt in all situations, even if they are legally exempt, for their safety and to avoid a hefty fine of up to £500.

“It’s essential to ensure you know the laws surrounding seatbelts to stay within the law and avoid unsafe trips for yourself and your passengers.

“One of the things most people are unaware of is that the driver is only responsible for children under 14 to wear their seatbelt. Anyone older than 14 is accountable for themselves.

“Owners of classic cars made pre-1965 do not need to install or wear a seatbelt as the vehicle was originally manufactured without one. But they must be careful when driving children around as under-threes cannot sit in the car at all.”

Quotezone.co.uk’s eight things you didn’t know about seatbelts:

  1. Classic Car

Before 1965, seatbelts did not have to be fitted into UK vehicles. So for those who drive a classic car manufactured initially without a seatbelt, no law requires one to be done. Children under three cannot sit in the car, and those over three can only sit in the back.

    2. Driving a Taxi

Taxi drivers carrying passengers or plying for hire are exempt from wearing a seatbelt, and this law protects the driver from passengers who may use the seat belt to hold the driver down and attack them.

  1. Reversing

When drivers reverse, they are legally permitted to take off their seatbelts. This also applies to Brits who supervise a learner driver who is changing, and the seat belt must be put back on as soon as they continue to drive forwards.

  1. Goods Vehicles

Motorists driving goods vehicles on delivery rounds do not need to wear a seatbelt if the distance is no more than 50 metres between stops. In all other circumstances, they must have a seatbelt on unless reversing.

  1. Medical Exemptions

Doctors can give drivers a certificate with valid medical grounds not to wear a seatbelt. This certificate must be kept in the car to show the police if necessary and inform the car insurer.

  1. Buses

Passengers onboard buses are exempt from wearing seatbelts, and buses generally do not have them installed. This is because these urban buses are intended for short trips at slow speeds and usually travel in dedicated bus lanes. They’re also designed to allow passengers to stand. Bus drivers are required to wear seatbelts if one is fitted – this depends on the year of manufacture.

  1. Coaches

The seatbelt law on coaches depends on when the vehicle was first used. Coaches registered before 1988 do not require adults to wear seatbelts. Those noted between 1988 and 2001 required seatbelts on forward-facing seats, and after 2001 needed a three-point belt on all coach seats.

  1. 14-Year-Olds

Passengers over 14 years old are required to wear a seatbelt by law, but it is their responsibility to do so. Drivers are only responsible for ensuring children under 14 wear their seatbelts and be in the correct child seat.

Quotezone.co.uk helps around 3 million users every year find savings on household bills and essentials, such as classic car insurance, collectors car insurance, and classic car young driver insurance.

*https://www.gov.uk/government/news/thirty-years-of-seatbelt-safety
**https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/seatbelt-and-mobile-phone-use-surveys-2021/seatbelt-wearing-rates-great-britain-2021
***https://www.gov.uk/seat-belts-law
****https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/seat-belts-in-minibuses-coaches-and-other-buses/seat-belts-in-minibuses-coaches-and-other-buses
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